FTSE news wrap: Travis Perkins, De La Rue, Thorntons, Ferrexpo, Bunzl, BP, Shell


Johannesburg and London listed PGM miner Lonmin (LSE: LMI, JNB: LON) has suffered another setback at its ‘Number One’ furnace in South Africa. The FTSE 100 constituent and world’s third largest primary platinum producer has reported that it had identified a leak around a slag tap hole at the furnace following its restart on May 12. As a result, anticipated re-commissioning of the furnace has been pushed back by a further 25 to 30 days.

Equity One, Inc (NYSE: EQY) and Capital Shopping Centres Group (LSE: CSCG) have cut a deal which will see US listed shopping centres owner and operator Equity One expand its presence in California.

Dragonfish, 888 Holdings’ (LSE: 888) business-to-business division, announced the launch of its FIFA World Cup ‘Quickplay’ instant format games, which will be made available to its clients on the Dragonfish bingo network and standalone networks.

Retailer Marks & Spencer (LSE: MKS) declared an end to the worst part of the recession and called 2009 a good year, saying that performance improved in all areas, driving adjusted pre-tax profits up 4.6% from a yera earlier to £632.5 million as group revenues climbed 3.2% to £9.5 billion.

Currency  and passport printing specialist De La Rue (LSE: DLAR) said it had an “excellent year” in 2009 and delivered an “outstanding performance” as demand for its services increased despite an “uncertain economic environment,” leading to a 12% increase in revenues to £561.1 million.

In its preliminary results for the year ended 31 March 2010, FTSE250 utility Pennon Group (LSE: PNN) has reported a 14.2% increase in underlying profit to £189.1m. The company also announced its intention to increase its dividend by 4% per annum, above inflation, from next year until at least 2014/15.

UK confectionary retailer Thorntons (LSE: THT) issued a profit-warning late in Tuesday’s session on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The company said it continued to experience a tough trading environment. Thorntons said that ‘Own stores’ sales have continued to experience like-for-like sales declines and commercial sales were also lower than expected towards the end of April and early May.

UK-based private client investment manager Brewin Dolphin (LSE: BRW) reported a substantial increase in its first-half pretax profits, up 37% to £15.2 million, as the company continued to increase assets under management.

Ferrexpo (LSE: FXPO) has told investors that iron ore demand has recovered from its 2009 lows, with prices in April significantly ahead of the first quarter, and it expects to secure significant average price increases for all of its production. Consequently, the company believes it will realise a strong financial performance mainly due to the positive outlook for prices in the remainder of the year, compared to 2009 levels.

BP (LSE: BP) has announced the commencement of its top kill operations aimed at plugging the well that has leaked enormous amounts of oil into the sea, causing what is now considered the greatest environmental disaster in the history of the US and wiping out a quarter of the British oil and gas supermajor’s value on the stock market.

Sweeteners and sugar manufacturer Tate & Lyle (LSE: TATE) will now refocus its strategy, with its Speciality Food Ingredients business being the key focus of investment and long-term growth. In line with this re-focus the company has concluded  it is highly unlikely to complete or commission the Fort Dodge, Iowa plant in the foreseeable future.  The company is incurring an exceptional charge of £217 million as a result.

Distribution and outsourcing group Bunzl PLC (LSE: BNZL) said it has acquired Juba Personal Protection Equipment S.L. and Guantes Juba S.A. from Juan Bautista Barrios, Juan Pedro Barrios, David Barrios, Conchita Barrios and Susana Barrios.

Travis Perkins (LSE: TPK) said it is in advanced discussions regarding a cash and share offer worth £553 million for specialist trade distributor BSS Group (LSE: BTSM). According to Travis Perkins, the combination would create the UK’s leading plumbing and heating trade and retail distribution business.

Oil and gas supermajor Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSB) has expanded its tight gas portfolio with new assets in North America after acquiring all of the business of East Resources for US$4.7 billion in cash, which has and acreage of 1.05 million, including 650,000 in the Marcellus shale in New York and 10,000 boepd (barrels of oil equivalent per day) of production.

Gambling website operator and FTSE 250 constituent 888 Holdings (LSE: 888) said its full year profit would be significantly lower than previous market expectations as the trading environment continued to be difficult and the euro and the sterling weakened against the US dollar, leading to losses in revenues.

Electrocomponents (LSE: ECM) shares edged up 2.5% after the company reported results for the year ended 31 March 2010, showing a strong recovery in the second half, with continued positive sales momentum into the current period.

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