Updates from FirstGroup, Evraz and Senior
A steep-ish shock for the FTSE 100 on Tuesday, down 1.72% to 6,773; a 118-point tumble in total. Anglo American and Imperial Tobacco bore the worst, down 4.5% and 3.4% respectively (to 1012p and 2963p); tobacco jitters about a Reynolds-Lorillard deal remain. BAT and BG Group weren't so far behind, dropping 2.9% and 2.7% (to 3488.50p and 829p).
In the US the Dow Jones dumped more than 200 points to 17,776.1 not helped by more oil price pressure; Unitedhealth Group and Chevron slumped 2.2% and 1.8%.
We commence with FirstGroup and a pre-close trading update. Overall Group trading for the fourth quarter was line with management expectations it says. The US FirstStudent arm though saw fourth quarter trading modestly affected by adverse weather in the North Eastern US.
On the UK bus front,overall like-for-like revenue growth is expected to be 2.3% for the year. UK rail should see like-for-like passenger revenue increase by 6.6% for the year, claims FirstGroup.
"We have also," it says, "signed an agreement to run the TransPennine Express franchise through to 1 April 2016, and look forward to submitting our bid for the new franchise later in the spring."
We move onto Rickmansworth-based engineering operator Senior (recently subject to several positive analyst ratings). Senior says it has acquired 100% of Lymington Precision Engineering from management and Vine Street Capital, for £45.8m.
There's an additional "earn-out" of up to £31.7m, potentially payable, dependent upon the financial performance of LPE during the 12 month period ending 31 March 2016, says the company.
"LPE," says Senior boss Mark Rollins, "represents an excellent addition to Senior's portfolio, strengthening the Group's precision machining capabilities and providing access to LPE's strong customer relationships and adjacent markets."
Lastly, Russian steel-maker Evraz says it intends to buy back US$375m in shares by way of a tender offer, subject to shareholder endorsement on 17 April.
The buy-back represents 8% of Evraz shares. Strong positive cash flow and the liquidity to service debt and meet 2015 maturities plus a reduced 2016 debt redemption requirement all make the buy-back possible claims the company.
However Evraz took almost $1.3bn in net losses in 2014 while revenues also fell strongly last year to around $13.1bn.
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