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atest news and analysis from the ES City team

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1614245117

Construction group Morgan Sindall poised for growth in 2021

Construction firm Morgan Sindall on Thursday said it has a high quality and growing order book, as it predicted “strong” growth this year.

The firm’s secured order book as at December 31 was £8.3 billion, up from £7.6 billion a year earlier.

The group said revenue in 2020 decreased 1% to £3 billion and adjusted pre-tax profit dropped 29% to £63.9 million. It was hit in the first half when Covid-19 lockdown restrictions came in.

The impact of additional costs incurred from site closures, lower productivity on sites, and from implementing new safety processes and procedures, impacted profitability last year.

But revenues improved in the second half.

Chief executive John Morgan said: “The size and quality of our growing secured workload at well over £8 billion leaves us well-positioned for the future and we are on track to deliver a result which is materially ahead of our previous expectations and slightly ahead of that delivered in 2019.”

1614244676

Howdens resumes dividend after seeing demand soar as locked-down Britons renovated in second half of 2020

Kitchen supplier Howden Joinery said today that it is resuming dividend payments after seeing trade soar in late 2020.

The FTSE 250 firm reported revenues “improving significantly” in the second half of the year “as we benefitted from pent-up demand and the consumer’s desire to invest in their homes”.

The company reported a pre-tax profit of £185.3 million for the year to December 26 – down 28.9% on its 2019 pre-tax profit of £260 million.

Howdens took a hit during the first lockdown, but sales in the second half were up 16% compared to the same period in 2019.

Howdens, which was launched in 1995 by Matthew Ingle, now has more than 730 depots across the UK.

Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Livingston, said: “We adapted to COVID trading conditions and progressed our strategic plans for the business. Our performance demonstrates the strength of our trade only business model and our ability to evolve the business.

“The year ended strongly with profit and cash flow ahead of expectations and we were able to repay the Government furlough and other support taken earlier in the year. We are also pleased to be resuming dividend payments.

“Given the COVID-related and other economic uncertainties, we remain cautious about underlying market conditions; however, we are encouraged by the progress made in 2020 and remain confident in our business model for the future.”

1614244129

AB InBev sees global revenues grow despite pandemic as it integrates Camden Town Brewery in UK

Brewing giant AB InBev has revealed Camden Hells was its top-selling craft beer across the U.K. in 2020.

The world’s largest brewer – maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona lagers – released its full-year preliminary results on Thursday. The firm said that in the final quarter its global revenue grew by 4.5%.

Chief executive, Carlos Brito, said: “We finished the year with momentum in our key markets by leveraging our fundamental strengths as a company and capturing the benefits of investments we have been making for several years in our portfolio and rapidly growing platforms, such as BEES and Zé Delivery.

“We are now more closely connected than ever to the 6 million+ customers and 2 billion+ consumers we serve worldwide through our clear commercial strategy, revamped innovation process, digital platforms and ongoing operational excellence.”

AB InBev, which did a mega-takeover of rival SABMiller in 2016 and saw its debt rise to $87.4 billion last June. The firm said today that “deleveraging to around 2x remains our commitment and we will prioritize debt repayment in order to meet this objective”.

The firm began to fully integrate Camden Town Brewery into its UK business following “strong growth in 2020”.

Paula Lindenberg, President for UK & Ireland, Budweiser Brewing Group, said: “We’re so excited to welcome the innovative and creative Camden team to the business, which will be a key part of our long-term strategy. “This move will better combine capabilities and teams to pave the way for future growth.”

Corona also had a bumper year in the UK – growing at nearly double the market rate in the off trade, the firm said today.

1614242638

Former Aviva chief relaunches himself as tech entrepreneur with “Abacai” car insurer

Mark Wilson, the former chief executive of insurance giant Aviva, today emerged as the chief executive of a new tech-led insurance company.

Wilson, who was ousted from Aviva after shareholders became frustrated with its failure to grow revenues, was famed for his fascination with technology at the company, even setting up a “digital garage” in trendy Hoxton Square.

Today he announced he was launching a new company, Abacai, with backing from private equity giant Sun Capital Partners.

Read the full story HERE.

1614240787

New chairman at fashion retailer N Brown

N Brown Group, the fashion retailer behind the Simply Be and Jacamo brands, has said that that Matt Davies will step down as chairman with effect from March 31, to spend more time on his other business activities.

Ron McMillan will relinquish his roles as senior independent director and audit committee chair of N Brown and will succeed Davies as chairman.

Gill Barr will succeed McMillan as the senior independent director, and on an interim basis, Vicky Mitchell will assume the audit committee chair role.

1614240386

Serco boss makes the case for the restart of dividend payments

Serco boss Rupert Soames defended the restart of dividend payments on Thursday after a year in which the outsourcer secured £350 million in revenues from NHS Test and Trace.

He said Serco’s Covid-19 related work accounted for 1% of annual profits when offset by other areas of the business being shut down by the pandemic.

Soames added that the company felt “very strongly” shareholders should see returns on their investment after several years in which they injected £850 million of additional equity to prop up the business since its last dividend in 2014.

The award of 1.4p a share has been accompanied by a £100 one-off payment to frontline staff costing the company £5 million. Around 90% of Serco’s 55,000 staff work in places such as prisons, hospitals, ships, or trains. Read the full story HERE.

1614238536

Clipper Logistics wins two “major” new contracts

Deliveries and returns firm Clipper Logistics has secured new contract wins with retailers River Island and Mountain Warehouse.

The company, which has benefited from the lockdown boom in online shopping, has agreed in principle a new five year open book contract with River Island to provide a range of logistics services at the fashion chain’s existing distribution centre in Milton Keynes.

It has also signed a new 10 year open book contract with Mountain Warehouse to provide a full range of multi-channel logistics services for the retailer.

Clipper Logistics said: “Together, these two new contracts will increase revenue by over £40 million on a full-year basis, and will be immediately earnings-enhancing from go-live. “

As a result, the firm expects to outperform current market expectations in the year to April 2022 and beyond.

1614241467

London landlord Shaftesbury hopes easing of lockdown rules will “ herald the revival of the West End’s economy”

The chief executive of Central landlord Shaftesbury has said the relaxation of lockdown rules will “ herald the revival of the West End’s economy” in the months ahead.

Brian Bickell was speaking in the same week the government said non-essential retailers can look to start welcoming customers back to stores from April, and the hospitality sector will reopen between then and in the following month.

Chinatown and Carnaby Street landlord Shaftesbury today said so far it has collected 45% of rent due for the quarter to December 31, and 36% of January 2021 rents have been collected to date.

The firm, like rivals, has seen bars, restaurants and shops temporarily close across the estate at various points for Covid-19 lockdowns. That has impacted the ability of some tenants to pay rent.

Shaftesbury has agreed a number of rent changes where needed, including waivers and deferrals. Since October it has offered monthly, rather than quarterly, rent collections on a permanent basis.

Read the full story HERE.

1614236042

Eurotunnel profits crashed 41% – but last-minute bookings softened blow

EUROTUNNEL operator Getlink saw underlying profits crash by 41% across 2020 as cross-channel travel was devastated by the pandemic and Brexit.

Consolidated EBITDA was €328 million, down €229 million compared to 2019 at a constant exchange rate, due to the Covid pandemic. Operating profit was €134 million, down 67% compared to 2019.

The Group’s consolidated net loss for the 2020 financial year was €113 million.

Revenues were down 24.1% to  €816 million across the year. It has pencilled in a €0.05 dividend per share subject to approval at April 28’s general meeting.The group has postponed publishing a 2021 financial outlook “in the absence of clear visibility on the future decisions by the governments concerning the public health crisis and associated travel restrictions.”

Group CEO Yann Leriche said: “In 2020, thanks to rigorous management and strong commitment from our teams, Getlink delivered a solid operational and financial performance, in an exceptional context marked by the Covid crisis and Brexit.

“Our collective ability to adapt to this new economic environment and to continue to provide a vital service to our customers has enabled us to end this year with a historic level of cash, confirming the Group’s resilience.”

Yield increase of 15% due to an increase of last-minute bookings and premium and flexible tickets. Le Shuttle and Le Shuttle Freight services have confirmed their position as leading market players

In 2020, more than 1.4 million passenger vehicles crossed the Channel aboard Passenger Shuttles, a remarkable performance compared to our competitors.

1614234705

Ikea sales up 31%. Markus office chair up 136%.

Ikea has hailed “resilient” trading over the past year as soaring demand for homeware from locked-down shoppers helped it to shake off some of the impact of store closures.

The Swedish retailer’s UK business has revealed total sales of £1.9 billion for the year to August 31, down 10.2% against the previous year.

Its stores remain shut due to coronavirus restrictions and were closed for a significant part of the past financial year amid the first national lockdown.

However, it said it was buoyed by strong growth in its online operations as customers turned to its home delivery services.

Online sales jumped by 31% to now represent more than a quarter of the company’s UK sales for the first time.

Ikea’s UK chief Peter Jelkeby said it was a “year of acceleration” as already-burgeoning growth in its online business grew rapidly.

“2020 was the year that changed everything – from the way we live our daily lives, to the way we do business,” he said.

The company said the rapid increase in home working resulted in a 322% increase in small desk demand in June, while there was a 136% increase for its Markus office chair.

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Beer giant Heineken sets target of currently being carbon neutral in output by 2030

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Beer giant Heineken sets goal of being carbon neutral in production by 2030
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eer large Heineken has explained it is aiming to be carbon neutral at its output web pages by 2030, as firms and traders ever more target on environmental, social and governance qualifications.

The Dutch brewer, which is guiding brands these kinds of as Amstel and Sol, mentioned it is dedicated to accelerating steps to deal with weather adjust.

Heineken’s main government Dolf van den Brink additional: “A big aspect of our all round carbon footprint outside of creation will come from agriculture, packaging, distribution and cooling. This suggests we will perform in close partnership with our suppliers and companions to access our bold aim of a carbon neutral benefit chain by 2040.”

The value chain features many get-togethers, from uncooked resources suppliers to logistics associates.

A concentrate on ESG remains superior on the agenda for scores of firms and shareholders.

Meanwhile the United kingdom is established to host the 26th UN Local climate Improve Convention of the Events in Glasgow in November.

At Heineken, among function it has performed is a short while ago introducing solar panels at a brewery in Nigeria. In the United kingdom Heineken previous calendar year launched a cardboard topper for multi-pack packaging for beers, lessening carbon and preserving 500 tonnes of plastic each individual calendar year.

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