Updates from TSB and Debenhams


The FTSE 100 rose modestly again on Thursday, ending at 6,808.1. Rolls-Royce Holdings leapt 8.4% to 1092p after returning £1bn to shareholders while Ashtead Group also climbed strongly, up 4.04% to 863.50p. There was also a bullish rise from Barratt, up 3.91% to 358.90p. The biggest plunger was Vodafone, down 1.64% to 194.85p.

Meanwhile the Dow Jones continued to edge higher, up 14.8 points to 16,921.4, helped by Fed news that interest rates would continue to stay low.

The big news this morning is from TSB. The pricing of its float has been set at 260 pence; based on the offer TSB's market capitalisation comes in at £1,300m. Due to investor demand the offer has been set at 35%, above the expected offer size of 25%.

TSB has a chunky mortgage book and any future rise in interest rates - as indicated by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney recently - will give TSB a boost. Hence considerable investor interest.

The offer comprises 175mn existing TSB ordinary shares (500mn in total). The offer price looks slightly higher than had been anticipated.

Next, an interim from Debenhams. Group gross transaction value for the 14 weeks to 7 June sees sales rise 1.6%. Group like-for-like sales climbed 0.7%. The gross margin guidance for full year remains unchanged.

Growth in online and robust performance from international business continues. Trials of new concessions including Sports Direct and Costa will commence before the year end says the store.

"In April," says chief exec Michael Sharp, "we set out five priorities to address the challenges that Debenhams faced in the first half of the year. Our performance in the second half reflects the work we have done, particularly to refocus our promotional activity."

Finally marine services player James Fisher announces the acquisition of Testconsult Limited and its subsidiaries for a cash sum of £8.0m. Testconsult earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was £1.4m for the year to 31 March.

Testconsult is a provider of monitoring, instrumentation and testing services and also designs and produces specialist testing equipment used in over 70 countries.

"We are delighted," says Fisher chief exec Nick Henry, "to welcome Testconsult into the James Fisher group and we look forward to benefitting from the enlarged opportunity which the combination of Strainstall Monitoring and Testconsult will present."

James Fisher