Morrisons pushed out of FTSE list of UK's top 100 public companies


Embattled supermarket Morrisons has been pushed out of the prestigious list of the UK's top 100 public companies, the FTSE confirmed today.

The Bradford-based grocer, which has been a constituent of the FTSE 100 index for 14 years, has battled falling sales as supermarkets have faced intense price pressure in recent years from discounters such as Aldi and Lidl.

The country's fourth biggest supermarket has also seen its shares lag the index, only just escaping demotion to the second-tier FTSE 250 in the LSE's June and September quarterly reviews.

Last month it posted like-for-like sales which dropped 2.6%, excluding fuel, in its third quarter to November 1. Including fuel, same store sales were 5.1% lower.

Morrisons said the slide came as it continued to cut back on promotional vouchers, which impacted sales by at least 2.4% over the three months.

In September, the Bradford-based chain announced the closure of 11 supermarkets, putting 900 jobs at risk, as it reported a 47% slump in half-year profits to £126 million.

The day before, it said it had agreed the sale of 140 M local convenience stores for around £25 million to concentrate on its larger stores.

Graham Spooner, investment research analyst at The Share Centre said: "Supermarket retailer Morrisons has been fighting relentlessly to maintain market share but strong competition in the sector led to the company reporting a decline in profits and a warning that restructuring costs will continue to impact in the future.

"This relegation is unlikely to come as a surprise to the market however, due to the fact the company only narrowly escaped demotion in the June and September reviews."

The supermarket will be joined in the FTSE 250 by outsourcing giant G4S and aerospace and defence firm Meggitt.

G4S has been struggling to streamline its contracts since 2013, following a prison tagging overcharging scandal and a previous debacle over its deal to supply security for the London Olympics.

Meggitt will also leave the top flight after its shares tumbled around 20% on the back of a profit warning in late October due to falling orders.

The FTSE Russell group, which runs the index, said the changes are part of its "impartial quarterly reviews".

It added: "The rules-driven reviews ensure the indexes continue to portray an accurate reflection of the market they represent."

Payments processor Worldpay will enter the top flight after its £4.8 billion London flotation in October.

The firm processes around 31 million mobile, online and in-store transactions every day. It employs about 4,500 staff, mostly in Britain and the US, which are its two biggest markets.

Worldpay will also be joined by doorstep lender Provident Financial and Irish business support services group DCC.

These companies will take up their new positions in their various indexes at the close of trading on Friday, FTSE Russell said.