Europe’s battle to contain a fourth wave of Covid-19 continues to be the main focus for investors as more countries appear ready to increase restrictions.
Airlines and other leisure stocks struggled this week amid renewed uncertainty, leading to mixed trading for the FTSE 100 and major European benchmarks.
Wall Street is closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, which means trading volumes in London are lighter than usual today. The annual results of the Mitchells & Butlers pub chain and a buyout agreement from Vivo Energy provide the main highlights of the company.
Rémy Cointreau brings joy to the market
African Vivo Energy, which joined the London stock market with great fanfare in 2018, headed out today after backing a £ 1.7bn takeover.
The FTSE 250-listed company, which sells Shell-branded fuels and lubricants at more than 2,400 service stations, was initially valued at £ 2 billion following a company’s largest IPO African woman in the UK for a decade.
The 2018 listing made Vivo the first debutant of the London Stock Exchange’s Companies to Inspire Africa report, highlighting the City’s potential as a funding partner for African issuers.
Today, it emerged that Vivo’s stock market stint was already coming to an end after energy trader Vitol secured board backing for a takeover with a 25% premium.
Vitol, which is the company’s first shareholder that created Vivo with Shell and private equity partner Helios in 2011, made its first buyout approach in February.
AJ Bell Chief Investment Officer Russ Mold said: “The story of Vivo, which manages the distribution and marketing of Shell and Engen petroleum products across Africa, has simply never really gained traction. ground.
Vivo’s shares rose 21.4p to 132.8p in one session when the FTSE 250 index climbed 68.32 points to 23,235.04.
The FTSE 100 index rose 12.77 points to 7,298.79 as European markets advanced despite continued concerns about the economic impact of new Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
Traders toast Remy Cointreau after raising his financial forecast on the basis of strong cognac sales in China and the United States, pushing his shares up 10% in Paris.
The better-than-expected update triggered the purchase of shares in London-listed Diageo, with the maker of Guinness and Smirnoff trading 25p higher at 3,900p.
In a session where volumes were low due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, there were gains of more than 1% for the backer of Tesla and Alibaba, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust and the firm of Darktrace cybersecurity.
Vodafone was the biggest loser in the elite, losing 4% as its shares began trading without the right to the interim dividend announced two weeks ago.
Wendy’s plans to expand into the UK
The American hamburger chain Wendy’s wants to open 50 more locations in the United Kingdom following the success of its recent return to that country.
The fast food chain is also planning to set up in France, Germany and Spain.
Having left the UK in 1999, Wendy’s recently returned with restaurants in Reading, Stratford, Oxford, Croydon and Romford. It also opened five dark kitchens to offer deliveries to foodservice platforms, including Deliveroo and Uber Eats.
Abigail Pringle, director of development for Wendy, said sales have proven to be so popular that the company intends to grow further.
She said: “We have had incredible success that has exceeded our expectations, and it is clear to us that customers love our fresh, high quality food.”
New locations slated for 2022 include Brighton, the Midlands and discussions are underway with franchise partners in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Hochschild Mining bounces back, Vodafone drops
European markets are struggling to gain momentum as investors worry about the potential for further lockdown restrictions from Covid-19.
The German Consumer Confidence Index highlighted these concerns after the latest reading fell more than expected to its lowest level since June.
The FTSE 100 index was broadly unchanged at 7,290, with lighter-than-usual trading volumes due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States.
Vodafone was the elite’s biggest loser, losing 3% after its shares started trading without the right to the interim dividend announced two weeks ago.
There was more to see for investors in the FTSE 250 index, where Hochschild Mining rebounded 20% after the Peruvian government clarified its stance on potential mine closures. African Vivo Energy also rose by more than a fifth after supporting a takeover offer.
Vivo Energy supports £ 1.7 billion acquisition
Vivo Energy, listed on the FTSE 250, which sells Shell and Engen-branded fuels and lubricants in Africa, is set to be acquired after backing a deal worth $ 2.3 billion (£ 1.7 billion) .
Energy trader Vitol owns 36% of Vivo and has secured the backing of another founding shareholder, private equity firm Helios, for offering a 25% premium over last night’s price.
Vitol, which completed its first buyout approach in February, created Vivo Energy with Shell and Helios in 2011. Since then, the company has expanded its network of service stations to more than 2,400 and also exports lubricants to several countries. Africans.
It generated revenues of $ 8.3 billion (£ 6.2 billion) and profits of $ 246 million (£ 184 million) in the year leading up to the pandemic.
Vitol’s operations include more than 480,000 barrels per day of refining capacity, while it also owns or markets approximately 6,500 retail gas stations.
Chris Bake, its origination manager, said: “Since we founded Vivo with Helios and Shell, we believe in the potential of the company and are delighted to have it within the Vitol family as a pillar. of our strategy in Africa.
Fed minutes reveal inflation anxiety
The FTSE 100 index is expected to open 15 points higher at 7301, after closing higher yesterday for the third session in a row.
Performance was aided by the resilience of the energy sector after oil prices traded near one-week highs, while defensive telecommunications and utilities were in demand amid fears over the economic impact of potential new foreclosure measures in Europe.
Cyclical stocks such as leisure and automotive stocks continued their recent decline.
Wall Street took center stage last night before traders left for the Thanksgiving holiday. The tech-laden Nasdaq, which was under pressure earlier this week amid fears of a US interest rate hike, ended 0.4% higher.
The U.S. Federal Reserve minutes last night showed policymakers seemed increasingly concerned about rising prices and their effects on the U.S. economy, with some arguing a decline faster than the $ 15 billion per months agreed two weeks ago.
Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Market, said: “Over the past two meetings there seems to be a lot less confidence than what we are seeing is transient in nature.”
The US dollar rallied overnight to leave the pound at $ 1.33 against the greenback.
Brent crude, meanwhile, continues to trade above $ 82 a barrel after an initiative by major oil-consuming countries to release some of their strategic reserves failed to exert pressure. down on prices.