Updates from BP and Stagecoach


The FTSE 100 returned to drift mode yesterday, sinking 36 points, ending the day at 6,486.1, down -0.55%. The biggest loser was grocer J Sainsbury's, down -4.27% to 378.6p, after concerns on weaker Christmas trading. Going the other way, RSA Insurance lifted +2.55% to 92.4p.

The Dow Jones ended nine points lower, down -0.06% at 15,875.

It's a quiet-ish day for corporate numbers as we near Christmas. First, BP claims it has made a "significant" oil discovery at its Gila prospect, co-owned with ConocoPhillips, in the US Gulf of Mexico. It's BP's third discovery in recent years in "the emerging Paleogene" trend in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Gila discovery was made by an exploration well on Keathley Canyon Block 93, about 300 miles southwest of New Orleans, in 4,900 feet of water. BP says 2013 had been its most successful year for new field exploration for almost a decade.

"The Gila discovery is a further sign that momentum is returning to BP's drilling operations and well execution in the Gulf of Mexico," Richard Morrison, regional president of BP's Gulf of Mexico business said.

Next, Stagecoach says it has snapped up Go West Travel Ltd, trading as Norfolk Green, an independent bus operator in the East of England. The company operates 70 buses and carries around 4.6 million passengers a year through Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.

The acquisition should complement Stagecoach's bus operations in the east of England, says the company. The business has leased depot and bus station facilities in King's Lynn, plus a number of small out-station facilities on short-term lets.

"The acquisition," says Robert Montgomery, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, "will allow us to expand our operations in the east of England, where we have achieved good passenger growth by focusing on good value fares, investing in our networks and delivering reliable services."

Lastly, construction group Galliford Try says says S4B, the Equitix-led partnership that includes Galliford Try and Contour Homes, is nearing closing a £100 million Brunswick regeneration scheme agreement.

The regeneration programme should transform the Brunswick area of East Manchester, providing 522 homes plus community facilities, including an Extra Care centre and retail units. Repairs and maintenance contractor Meats will refurbish 654 homes and provide ongoing facilities management services.

"We are very pleased," says Galliford Try Chief Executive Greg Fitzgerald, "to reach agreement with Manchester City Council, our consortium partners and other project stakeholders to secure what will be an important regeneration project for Greater Manchester."