Updates from Balfour Beatty, IMI and Premier Farnell

Adrian Holliday
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, balfour beatty, carillion, IMI
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, balfour beatty, carillion, IMI

A 24.4 point rise for the FTSE 100 on Thursday, lifting it to 6,635.4. Carnival and DixonsCarphone chalked up 2.76% and 2.26% gains respectively (to 2602p and 413.50p). There was also better news for ITV, up 2.2% to 205.10p and Morrisons, up 2.2% to 176.80p. No such luck for TullowOil though, sinking again; the Board's biggest plunger, it ended the day's trading down more than 5.8% at 464p.

Elsewhere, most stock markets climbed with the Dow Jones heading north once again, hitting 17,652.7, up 40 points - another record high. However new numbers from Germany - its economy only just swerves recession - sees just 0.1% growth in the last quarter.

We commence with an update from IMI. Revenues for the four months to the end of October were 1% ahead of last year and 2% higher year to date. But on a reported basis, revenues slump 6% for the four months and 5% down year to date.

IMI pin the blame on exchange rate movements. Numbers for the full year are still expected to be in line with market expectations, despite market conditions being more difficult than anticipated, particularly in Germany IMI says.

"The Group," says IMI, "is making good progress with the initiatives that we set out in the strategic review in August which include simplifying the organisation structure, investing in new products and improving our operational performance."

Five Banks Fined £2bn for Rigging Foreign Exchange Markets
Five Banks Fined £2bn for Rigging Foreign Exchange Markets

Next, a quarterly update from tech solutions operator Premier Farnell. Sales per day it says grew 3.7% year on year, with continued momentum in the Americas and "strong but moderating growth" in Asia Pacific and a robust performance in Continental Europe and the UK market.

Group sales per day grew 2.7%. The gross margin dips 0.5 percentage points reflecting softer market conditions in Asia and Europe. Premier Farnell now expects gross margin to increase in the fourth quarter.

But given recent trends in the third quarter it says "we now anticipate that full year operating margin will be slightly below prior year levels."

Finally, Balfour Beatty says it has reached an agreement to sell parts of its German Rail business to Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group of Austria. This continues its intention to rid itself all of its mainland European rail businesses.

The hope is that the company will become simpler and more focused. The disposal group generated approximately £80 million of revenue in 2013 with reported losses before tax.

Balfour shareholders recently backed the sale of US design player Parsons Brinckerhoff, which previously made life difficult for the £3bn merger discussions with Carillion, who wanted to stop the sale. Balfour recently announced that finance boss Duncan McGrath is to quit.

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