Updates from Vodafone and Catlin Group


The FTSE 100 climbed 13.4 points on Friday, ending the day 0.20% higher overall at 6,571. Persimmon was the biggest day's climber, up 3.36% to 1385p; BG Group took the heaviest losses, down -3.08% at 1053p.

The Dow Jones ended Friday 165 points higher, up 1.06% at 15,794. reversing some losses from earlier in the week.

We commence with news that Vodafone is in the running for a £5.8bn bid for Spain's cable operator Ono, which provides telephone, television and 'net services; it saw revenues of more than €1.50bn in 2012.

Current Ono owners are buy-out firms Quadrangle Capital, Thomas H Lee Providence Equity Partners and CCMP. A straight sale is now being considered following the considering of a possible listing.

However cash-rich Vodafone recently saw a 14 percent slump in quarterly Spanish revenues. Vodafone is currently attempting to take a bigger share of the market to compete against Telefonica.

Next, insurer Catlin Group. The international specialty property/casualty insurer and reinsurer has released financial numbers for the year up to 31 December 2013.

Highlights include a 27 per cent hike in profit before tax to US$432 million (2012: $339 million). Catlin claims a five per cent increase in the annual dividend to 31p per share (49.8 US cents) (2012: 29.5 UK pence; 46.0 US cents).

Net underwriting amounting to slightly more than US$1.00 billion, "an all-time record," says chairman John Barton. "Net tangible assets per share increased during 2013 by 9 per cent to US$7.17, whilst book value per share rose by 7 per cent to US$8.92."

Lastly, an interim from HICL Infrastructure for the period 1 October 2013 to 7 February 2014. Total net investment during the period came to £32.3m as a result of six new investments, three acquisitions of incremental stakes and two disposals.

That brings the total number of projects in the portfolio to 93 with the first investments made in France. A number of overseas investment opportunities are being considered says HICL.

The investment portfolio continues to perform well it claims and cash inflows from investments are on track to deliver a targeted 7.1p per share dividend for the year ending 31 March 2014, claims the company.