Updates from Go-Ahead, Rolls Royce and Man Group


A small uptick for the FTSE 100 on Wednesday, climbing nearly 12 points to 6,778.5. Shire climbed 3.42% to 3785p while Primark owner ABF surged 2% to 3050p. Both BP and Shell also saw share price bumps while United Utilities took the biggest hit, down 2.77% to 861.50p.

IMI was also down significantly, falling 2.43% to 1526p, despite a strong Outperform rating from Credit Suisse, and Severn Trent slipped more than 2% to 1928p. Across the water, the US Fed has snipped its growth forecast for 2014.

First, a pre-close trading update from Go-Ahead Group for the full year to 28 June. Overall performance in bus and rail is described as "good" and full year expectations for bus operations remain unchanged, the company says.

It expects its rail division to deliver operating profit ahead of previous expectations, with second half profits slightly lower than first half. The Government's move to limit January 2014 fare increases to RPI has seen a lower yield per passenger journey in the second half.

"Our regulated and deregulated bus operations," adds the company, "continue to deliver a consistent performance and we remain on course to achieve our operating profit target of £100m by 2015/16."

Next, Rolls-Royce has announced a share buyback of £1bn subject to the completion of the sale of its Energy gas turbine and compressor business to Siemens. The sale announced on 6 May this year, is expected to complete end of 2014.

John Rishton, CEO of Rolls-Royce, said: "As no material acquisitions are planned, and reflecting the strength of our balance sheet, we will return the proceeds of the Energy sale to our shareholders".

Rolls-Royce will shortly provide an investor update on Group strategy, capital allocation and its financial guidance framework. It has just signed an agreement with CGN, the Chinese nuclear player for future engineering support.

Finally, hedge fund player Man Group says it has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire Numeric Holdings, a privately-owned, Boston-based quantitative equity manager with $14.7 billion of funds under management.

Man will pay $219 million in cash at completion, with up to $275 million payable to a broad group of the Numeric management team and employees following the fifth anniversary of completion.

"Man's strategy is to provide the optimal infrastructure and environment for its investment divisions," says chief exec Manny Roman. "Numeric is well positioned to benefit significantly from our scale and resources."

Breaking news: Virgin will continue to control the West Coast Main Line train services, with a pledge to boost capacity.

Go-Ahead Group
Rolls Royce
Man Group