Maitland/AMO Morning Monitor – Thursday 23 December 2021

23rd December 2021

In the news

  • Two studies published yesterday indicate that the Omicron variant is less likely to cause severe disease than the Delta variant of Covid-19.
  • The UK reported a record 106,000 coronavirus cases yesterday.
  • Turkey’s foreign currency reserves have tumbled by billions of dollars since the start of the week, suggesting that aggressive interventions have aided the lira’s bounce back from record lows.
  • "Stratospheric" wholesale gas and power prices threaten a “national crisis” in Britain, energy companies warn, as they increase pressure on ministers to protect customers and suppliers from volatility in commodity markets.
  • Italy’s prime minister has said that Europe has few tools to deter Russia from a military confrontation with Ukraine.

Politics today

  • Parliament is in recess until 5 January 2022.
  • Ministers are pledging to “reset the dial” with a new “vision for women’s health” published today.

Stock market moves

  • In the US, the S&P 500 rose 1%, while the NASDAQ 100 rose 1.2%.
  • In Asia, Japan’s Topix index rose 0.9%, South Korea’s Kospi index climbed 0.5% and China’s Shangha Composite index rose 0.5%.
  • In Europe, the FTSE 100 is trading up 0.61% in the early hours of the morning.

Corporate announcements

* Maitland Client

Flutter Entertainment PLC Acquisition of Sisal
  • Flutter Entertainment PLC today announced the acquisition of Sisal, Italy’s leading online gaming operator, from CVC Capital Partners Fund VI for a consideration of €1.913bn/£1.62bn.
  • The transaction is likely to complete during Q2 2022 and is expected to be accretive to adjusted earnings in the first 12 months post-completion.
  • In the 12 months to December 2021, Sisal expects to generate EBITDA of €248m/£211m, with 58% coming from its online offering and the remainder coming from a combination of retail and lottery operations.
  • Approximately 90% of Sisal’s 2021 EBITDA is generated in Italy with the balance coming from regulated lottery operations in Turkey and Morocco. The business employs circa 2,500 people today.
  • Peter Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Sisal has grown its online presence significantly in recent years, aided by its proprietary platform and commitment to innovation. I’m excited to see how Flutter can complement these capabilities through our scale, differentiated products and operational capabilities.”
BHP Group PLC BHP and Noront Terminate Support Agreement
  • BHP Lonsdale Investments, a wholly owned subsidiary of BHP, announced today the termination of the support agreement between BHP Lonsdale, its subsidiary BHP Western Mining Resources International (BHP WMR) and Noront Resources (Noront).
  • In accordance with the terms of the Support Agreement, Noront has made a C$17.78m termination payment to BHP WMR.
International Public Partnerships LTD Board Appointment
  • International Public Partnerships Limited today announced that Stephanie Coxon has been appointed to the Board of the Company as a non-executive Director with effect from 1 January 2022.
  • Stephanie has also been appointed to each of the Company’s Committees with effect from the same date.
  • Michael Gerrard, Chair, said: “I and my fellow directors are delighted to welcome Stephanie to the Board. Her knowledge and experience will be complementary to that of other Board members. Effective Board succession is of the utmost importance and I am confident that this appointment will ensure the continued strength of the Company’s governance.”
International Public Partnerships LTD Acquisition of UK PPP Portfolio
  • International Public Partnerships Limited (INPP) today announced that it has agreed to acquire a small portfolio of UK PPP investments comprising initially interests in Townlands Community Hospital in Henley, Eltham Community Hospital and minority interests in the Building Schools for the Future projects STaG 1 and 2. 
  • The interests will be acquired from an affiliate of INPP’s Investment Adviser, Amber Infrastructure, for £3m, following an independent valuation prepared by Newbridge Advisors LLP.
  • Investment in minority interests in a further five BSF schemes from the same portfolio, representing up to £3m of additional investment, will be made by INPP in the coming months.
  • Following financial close of the acquisition and draw down under the facility INPP will be approximately £163m drawn against its £250m corporate debt facility, including £9m issued by way of a letter of credit to support the Company’s commitment to invest in the Flinders University Health and Medical Research Building upon construction completion in March 2025.
Balfour Beatty PLC Resolution with Balfour Beatty Communities & USDOJ
  • Balfour Beatty PLC announced today that, as of 22 December 2021, its U.S. subsidiary Balfour Beatty Communities LLC has reached a resolution with the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • The resolution resolves the DOJ’s criminal and civil investigations into specific performance incentive fees improperly claimed by Communities between 2013 and 2019 related to maintenance work at certain United States military housing installations.
  • Under the terms of the resolution, Communities has pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and has agreed to the appointment of an independent compliance monitor for a three-year period. Communities cooperated fully with the DOJ in its investigation.
  • Communities will pay a total resolution amount of U.S. $65.4m (£49m at the current exchange rate) comprising approximately $33.6m in penalties and $31.8m in restitution.