Maitland/AMO Morning Monitor – Friday 24 December 2021

24th December 2021

In the news

  • The US and Russia are to hold talks over Ukraine, with Putin indicating that a meeting is scheduled for January in Geneva.
  • An official report by the UK Health Security Agency confirms that omicron is likely to be a milder variant of Covid-19, and governmental sources believe New Year's Eve restrictions are increasingly unlikely.
  • Third Point Chair Steve Bates has stepped down after receiving personal threats amid an escalating fight with rebel investors.
  • Ex-TSB chair Richard Meddings has been picked as the next chair of the NHS.
  • Europe's biggest energy users are curbing production as they warned of soaring power and gas prices, which could lead to higher manufacturing costs and impact competitiveness.

Politics today

  • Parliament is currently in recess until 5 January 2021.

Stock market moves

  • In the US, stocks were steady with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 rising 0.62% and 0.79% respectively on Thursday.
  • In Asia, Japan’s Topix index fell -0.13% while China’s Shanghai Composite index decreased -0.69% by market close. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is currently closing upwards at 0.13%.
  • In Europe, the FTSE 100 has opened flat.

Corporate announcements

* Maitland Client

Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC Proposed Sale of E45 to Karo Pharma
  • Has entered agreement for the proposed sale of its E45 brand and related sub-brands to Karo Pharma for an implied enterprise value of £200m.
  • The brands had a combined net revenue of £43m for FY2020.
  • The sale, if completed, is another step forward in Reckitt’s plan to actively manage its portfolio for higher growth.
  • Laxman Narasimhan, CEO of Reckitt, said: “Now is the right time to pass E45 on to a new owner, and we are confident that Karo will build on the strength of the E45 brand to capture the significant opportunities ahead.”
Babcock International Group PLC Completion of the sale of UK Power business
  • Has completed sale of its Power business to M Group Services for a gross cash consideration of £50m.
  • For the year ended 31 March 2021, the business reported total revenues of £70m and profit before interest and tax of around £7m.
  • The business will now form part of Morrison Energy Services, a division of M Group Services.
  • David Lockwood, CEO of Babcock, said: “I’m delighted that we continue to make real strides in delivering our plan of streamlining the Group. The business is a great fit for M Group Services, and I wish them every success as they continue to grow their operations.”
Capita PLC Capita agrees to sell AMT Sybex
  • Has agreed to sell its AMT Sybex software business to Jonas Computing, valuing AMT Sybex at up to £40m.
  • For FY2020, AMT Sybex reported £40m for revenue and £12m for profit before tax. Gross assets were £77m at H1 2021.
  • AMT Sybex senior management team and employees will remain with the business.
  • Jon Lewis, CEO of Capita, said: “As we continue to simplify and strengthen the business, this disposal is another step towards a more focused and sustainable Capita for the long term.”