Updates from Comet, Aggreko and Oxford Instruments

The FTSE 100 finished -0.13% lower at 5,921 on Friday. Polymetal Int was the highest riser, up +2.26% while Prudential underwent the biggest sell-off, down -1.95%.

Overnight in Asia, the Nikkei's rise continues: the Japanese index leapt +0.94% to 9,895 as sentiment turned hopeful on new weekend election results. The Hang Seng lost -0.62%.
First off, a trading update from Aggreko. Reported Group revenues for the year are expected to be in the region of £1.6 billion (up 13%), and profit before tax and amortisation is expected to be around £365 million (up 12%), in line with previous guidance says Aggreko.

Earnings per share are expected to grow by at least 15%. On an underlying basis Aggreko expects Group revenues for 2012 will be around 13% higher than the prior year and trading profits around 7% higher.

However Aggreko warns it will not have the benefit in 2013 of the Olympics to bolster local business and the planned reduction in numbers of US troops in Afghanistan will lead to a further reduction in Military revenues.

Next, Oxford Instruments, which has announced the acquisition of Asylum Research Corporation, a provider of Scanning Probe Microscopes (SPM). Asylum Research is a US company based in Santa Barbara, California with subsidiaries in the UK, Germany and Taiwan.

Asylum's SPM technology is used by academic and industrial customers for a wide range of materials and bioscience applications. The combination of Oxford Instruments and Asylum Research strengthens the Group's Nanotechnology Tools sector, Oxford claims.

Asylum Research is acquired from its management for an initial debt free, cash free sum of US$32.0 million with a deferred element of up to US$48.0 million payable over three years dependent on its performance during this period.

Finally, it's emerged that Comet's secured creditors will rake back around 34p for every pound invested in the failed electrics retailer, while unsecured creditors will get nothing at all. It's thought the taxpayer will take a £27m hit.

The investment vehicle Hailey Acquisitions Ltd (HAL) which snapped up Comet earlier in the year is likely to walk away with almost £50m though in total this should also mean a £95m loss for HAL.

Comet staff should get fully paid up while trade suppliers should own most of the merchandise supplied if they have not been paid for the goods. Comet owed around £200m to creditors when the retailer imploded.

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