Updates from Man Group, Majestic Wine and Gem Diamonds
Overnight, responding to the Greek pro-bail-out party victory, Japan's Nikkei climbed 1.9% while the Hang Seng added 1.6%.
Let's start the morning uncorking some fizz. Majestic Wine has announced £23.2m in pre-tax profits, up from £20.3m a year ago; total sales are up 8.9% to £280.3m (2011: £257.3m). Behind the positive numbers appears an increased wilingness to spend with the average purchase up £2 to £128.
Fine wine sales increased 18.5% while like-for-like sales at UK stores - those open for a year or more - rose 2.6%. A final dividend of 11.8p a share means the total dividend for the year climbs to 15.6p - a 20% hike.
"We expect," says chairman Phil Wrigley, "to make further good progress by continuing to invest in the development of internal talent, in the roll-out of the store portfolio and in customer facing technologies. Whilst we recognise that the trading environment is likely to continue to be difficult we are well placed to deal with the challenges and opportunities ahead."
Next, Man Group. Finance director Kevin Hayes is quitting the company with Jonathan Sorrell, currently Man's Head of Strategy and Corporate Finance, taking over as Finance Director with immediate effect.
"Jonathan's appointment follows a rigorous process to identify the best possible candidate," Man chairman Jon Aisbitt says. "Since he joined the company, he has demonstrated the strong all round financial and commercial skills necessary for the role. His promotion to the Board will bring new talent and focus to the senior executive team."
Lastly, Gem Diamonds has announced two fatalities at its Botswana Ghaghoo Mine project involving a ground collapse at the face of a tunnel development in difficult conditions. The incident has been fully investigated and the Department of Mines has given permission for the project to continue says Gem.
Clifford Elphick, CEO said: "The Company again extends its condolences to the families of the two deceased and commits itself to continuing to strive for the highest safety standards for its employees and contractors at all of its operations."
"The project is presently on budget with some US$31 million of the overall budget of US$85 million already spent. The impact upon the tunnel portion of the project costs is still under assessment."