Updates from Diageo, Betfair and Telecity
An end-of-week rise for the FTSE 100 on Friday: the board climbed almost 83 points on Friday, ending at 6,546.4. Barclays and RBS both soared, up 8.20% to 240.80p and 6.21% to 388p respectively despite some hefty provision for forex rigging accusations.
IAG continued to climb, up 4.74% to 409.20p (though the BA owner remains some way off its 52-week 454p high). In contrast miners slumped with RandgoldResources down 2.67% and Fresnillo losing 2.65%.
Across the water, the Dow Jones pushed substantially forward - largely helped by a dose of better Japanese economic news - rising more than 195 points to 17,390.5, a record close.
We start with news that Diageo has agreed to snap up upmarket tequila Don Julio, giving it full ownership of the brand (it currently owns 50%) from Jose Cuervo. In return, Diageo - it attempted to buy the tequila brand two years ago - has reached an agreement to sell Irish whiskey Bushmills to Jose Cuervo.
The deal will result in a net payment of $408 million to Diageo, expected in early 2015 subject to certain approvals, says Diageo. Boss Ivan Menezes says the move secures its position in the super and ultra-premium tequila category.
A piece of positive news for Menezes given recent emerging markets growth pressure (Diageo has slowed plans to expand whisky production on the sales fall-back).
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Next, a trading update for Betfair for the three months ended 31 October 2014 Q2. Revenues were up 22% to £119m. The focus in the second quarter has been on maintaining its momentum from the Q1 World Cup boost.
"Encouragingly, the recent growth in customer activity has continued with the active customer base up 30% in Q2," says the company. "These trends, combined with favourable sporting results...underpin our confidence in delivering our expectations for the year."
Last week Deutsche Bank restated their Hold rating on the stock. Betfair is currently close to a year-high at 1210p (at time of writing).
We end with a three month interim from Telecity. There's year-to-date organic revenue growth while the EBITDA margin remains robust at 46.9% plus encouraging gross order wins across the Group.
Full year organic currency neutral revenue growth and capex guidance re-affirmed; its CEO recruitment is progressing well it claims.
"In February," says boss John Hughes, "we will update the market on capital structure, capital allocation and operational priorities resulting from the work currently being undertaken." Telecity's Buy rating was last week reaffirmed by Jefferies Group.
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