Updates from United Utilities, Betfair and Smith & Nephew

Tuesday was a flat day for the FTSE 100, lifting just 13 points to 5,799. RBS was the biggest climber of the day, rising +3.51% while Aberdeen Asset Management stumbled -2.20% lower, the biggest overall loser.

Overnight in Asia, stocks have fallen with the Nikkei dipping more than -1.22% to 9,308 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng swung -0.89% south to 21,648.
We commence with half-yearly numbers from United Utilities. Underlying operating profits dip from last year's £324.2 million to £315.7 million while revenues overall climb to £822.9 million from £792.7 million. Earnings per share climbs to 22.6p from 20.7p.

United Utilities recently rejected some of Ofwat's licence proposals for the water sector, claiming its proposals went against customers, investors and shareholders.

"The recent progress we have made," says chief exec Steve Mogford, "reinforces our confidence in delivering our 2010-15 regulatory outperformance targets. Alongside our operational and customer service improvements, we have delivered another good financial performance despite a tough economic environment."

Next, Smith & Nephew. The medical technology player has bought Healthpoint Biotherapeutics for $782 million in cash. The rationale for the cash buy includes integration into Smith & Nephew's Advanced Wound Management division and claimed strong innovation cultural synergies.

"Strategically, it reinforces our Advanced Wound Management division by giving us a strong position in the fast growing area of bioactive wound care treatment," says Olivier Bohuon, Smith & Nephew chief exec said. "The combination benefits our customers, offering them a truly unique wound care business."

However the company has seen quarterly sales slip recently. Corporate performance has also been on the defensive as much of its earnings are reported in dollars, impacting revenue from its businesses away from the US thanks to the stronger greenback.

Finally, Betfair says it has appointed Alexander Gersh as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director from 3 December. For the past seven years, Gersy was CFO of NDS Group, a leading supplier of technology solutions for digital pay-TV, formerly listed on NASDAQ. Prior to this Gersh was CFO of Flag Telecom, a global network services provider.

Gersh succeeds Stephen Morana. "Alex has extensive and valuable experience of working in highly competitive, international businesses and a proven track record of delivering results," said Betfair chief exec Breon Corcoran. "I welcome him to Betfair and look forward to working with him."

Betfair announced this week that it was pulling out of Greece over regulation worries. New boss Corcoran is said to be wary of markets where there are regulation question marks. Germany has also caused problems for the company recently on the regulation front.

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