Maitland Morning Monitor – Monday 20 March 2017

20th March 2017

Market Information

The FTSE is expected to open up this morning, while other European markets will dip slightly. Asian markets put in a mixed performance overnight.

In the news

  • May will tell bosses to give workers more rights
  • Vivendi chief accuses Italy’s Mediaset over deal collapse
  • Revolt brews over bosses’ bonuses at Crest Nicholson

Top Financial Announcements

* Maitland Client

Vodafone Group PLC* Merger of Vodafone India and Idea
  • Vodafone to combine its subsidiary Vodafone India (excluding its 42% stake in Indus Towers) with Idea, which is listed on the Indian Stock Exchanges.
  • Highly complementary combination will create India’s largest telecoms operator with the country’s widest mobile network and a strong commitment to deliver the Indian government’s ‘Digital India’ vision.
  • Merger of equals with joint control of the combined company between Vodafone and the Aditya Birla Group, governed by a shareholders’ agreement.
  • Vodafone will own 45.1% of the combined company after transferring a stake of 4.9% to the Aditya Birla Group for circa INR39 billion (circa US$579 million) in cash concurrent with completion of the merger. The Aditya Birla Group will then own 26.0% and has the right to acquire more shares from Vodafone under an agreed mechanism with a view to equalising the shareholdings over time.
  • Vittorio Colao, Chief Executive, said: “The combination of Vodafone India and Idea will create a new champion of Digital India founded with a long-term commitment and vision to bring world-class 4G networks to villages, towns and cities across India. The combined company will have the scale required to ensure sustainable consumer choice in a competitive market and to expand new technologies – such as mobile money services – that have the potential to transform daily life for every Indian. We look forward to working with the Aditya Birla Group to create value for all stakeholders.”
Phoenix Group Holdings* 2016 Annual Results
  • £486 million of cash generation, meeting the Group’s 2016 cash generation target.
  • Solvency II surplus of £1.9 billion.
  • Shareholder Capital Coverage Ratio of 170%.
  • Group operating profit of £351 million (2015: £324 million).
  • Proposed final dividend of 23.9p per share, an equivalent 5% increase on the 2015 final dividend.
  • Acquisition of AXA Wealth’s pensions and protection businesses has generated a total of £282 million of cash to date, exceeding the target of £250 million of cash generation within 6 months of completion.
  • Acquisition of Abbey Life for £933 million in cash completed on 30 December, adding 735,000 policies and £10 billion of assets. Integration progressing well.
  • CEO, Clive Bannister, said: “Phoenix has had a highly successful year in completing two acquisitions, allowing us to increase our dividend per share. The Group has safely incorporated our new customers from the AXA Wealth and Abbey Life businesses and is focused on delivering the planned cost and capital synergies. We are grateful for the support of our investors during 2016 and we believe there will be further consolidation in the UK life industry. We continue to explore opportunities as they arise. The Group’s recent Tier 3 bond issue and the achievement of £282 million of cash generation from the AXA business provides Phoenix with greater flexibility in financing future acquisitions.”
Hansteen Holdings PLC Final Results
  • Profit before tax down to £119.9m (2015: £171.4m).
  • Full year dividend increased 12.4% to 5.9p per share (2015: 5.25p per share).
  • Melvyn Egglenton, Chairman, said: “I am pleased to report an exceptional year for Hansteen with our portfolio and our team once again delivering record results. We also have 447 acres of undeveloped land in the UK which does not yet produce income but will in time produce further value. We will continue to focus on realised returns allowing us to pay a well-covered and growing dividend to our shareholders“.
John Laing Infrastructure Fund Limited Preliminary Results
  • Portfolio value of £1,267.6m up 40.3%.
  • Dividend of 6.82p per share for 2016.
  • Paul Lester, Chairman, said: “I am pleased to present JLIF’s year-end results for the financial year 2016. It was a busy 12 months for JLIF, with investments of £306 million, a record amount in any single year since launch. JLIF also sold its interests in two projects having received offers that the Board considered represented better value for shareholders than could be achieved by retaining the interests. The disposals generated proceeds of £43.4 million that were re- invested almost immediately. During the year JLIF paid dividends of 6.82 pence per share, supported by good Portfolio performance, with underlying growth again ahead of the discount rate unwind. With JLIF’s share price benefitting from market volatility in the wake of the EU referendum outcome, JLIF delivered a share price total return of 17.5% over the year. I am confident in the outlook for JLIF’s business prospects and look forward to being able to report to you news of another successful year in 2017.”