BUSINESS LIVE: GSK boosted by RSV vaccine; H&M boss leaves; Hercules launches construction academy


The FTSE 100 was down 0.1 percent in early trading. Companies with reports and trading updates available today include GSK, Hercules Site Services and Banco Santander. Read the Business Live blog from Wednesday January 31 below.

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HMV benefits from vinyl revival as vinyl record sales reach highest level since 1990

Growing demand for vinyl records has boosted profits at parent company HMV.

Annual profits more than doubled from £2m to £5.3m in the year to May 2023, said Sunrise Records & Entertainment, owner of the music and entertainment retailer .

Market open: FTSE 100 down 0.2%; FTSE 250 down 0.3%

London-listed stocks are trading lower this morning, with the FTSE 100 dragged lower by Vodafone and GSK, while disappointing results from major US tech companies overnight and caution ahead of a policy decision by the Federal Reserve weighs on the global mood.

Vodafone is down 2.2 percent after French telecoms operator Iliad said its British counterpart had rejected its revised proposal to merge their Italian operations.

Shares of GSK fell 0.3 percent even as the pharmaceutical maker beat market estimates for the fourth quarter.

Harbor Energy is down almost 5 per cent, weighing on the FTSE 250, after Goldman Sachs downgraded the oil and gas producer’s shares from ‘sell’ to ‘buy’.

Both FTSE indexes are heading for their first monthly decline in three as investors reduce their bets on aggressive interest rate cuts from major central banks, with concerns over China’s slowing economy adding to the gloom.

John Lewis will return to profit this year, says chairman Sharon White

Retailer John Lewis will return to profit this year, its chairman Dame Sharon White has said.

In a message to staff this week, White said the employee-owned partnership would “more than break even.”

GSK “remains a serious player on the world stage”

Head of Markets at Interactive Investor Richard Hunter:

“GSK reiterated that it remains a serious player on the global stage, with successful product launches followed by a strong pipeline of potential new drugs.

“The long-term potential of the sector is not in question, as the shift towards personalized medicine and the growth of middle classes in emerging markets provide opportunities for endless demand.

“Meanwhile, the move away from the ‘white pills and western markets’ model, a phrase coined by Glaxo a few years ago, is resulting in a more specialized business, which was confirmed by the spin-off of its manufacturing unit. consumer healthcare Haleon in 2022. .

“Highlights of the year include the launch of its Arexvy vaccine, which fights respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in adults over 60, with the company currently trying to lower the age threshold to 50.

“The vaccine was launched in the US last autumn and already has an estimated two-thirds market share, with sales of more than £1.2 billion to date.

“Meanwhile, in its European and international businesses, continued strong uptake of its shingles vaccine, Shingrix, resulted in sales of £3.4 billion.

Morrisons to sell 337 petrol stations to private equity partner in £2.5bn deal

Morrisons is selling its 337 oil stations to private equity partner Motor Fuel Group (MFG) in a £2.5 billion deal.

As part of the tie-up, MFG will purchase more than 400 locations at the supermarket that will offer ultra-fast chargers for electric vehicles.

IMF should not interfere in UK domestic politics, says ALEX BRUMMER

The International Monetary Fund should have learned lessons from this. As an observer of the global economy, he has no mandate to poke his nose into British domestic politics.

France’s chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas could not resist the temptation, telling the media that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt should “try to replenish the budgetary reserves” rather than proposing further tax cuts beyond of £20 billion in the autumn statement.

Santander posts record profits

Strong loan income in Europe and Brazil helped Santander offset a loss in Argentina and post a record profit for the final quarter of 2023, beating forecasts.

Net profit for the quarter rose 28 percent year-on-year to 2.93 billion euros, above analysts’ expectations of 2.64 billion euros, thanks to a 34 percent gain in net profit in Europe.

For the full year 2023, net profit increased by 15 percent to a record 11.08 billion euros, while revenue increased by 10.5 percent.

This higher profit helped raise Santander’s return on tangible equity (RoTE) ratio, a measure of profitability, to 15.06% by the end of 2023, from 13.37% in 2022, meeting its target end of year by more than 15%. .

“Our progress in executing our strategy, combined with the strength and diversification of our model, will enable us to continue to grow while further improving our profitability, targeting a RoTE of 16 percent for 2024,” said Executive President Ana Botin.

H&M boss steps down amid disappointing profits

H&M boss Helena Helmersson has decided to resign and leave the group after the Swedish retail giant posted disappointing quarterly profits.

The company announced to investors this morning that it has named Daniel Erver as its new CEO, effective immediately.

Helmersson said she decided to step down, saying the role was very personally demanding.

It recorded an operating profit of 4.33 billion crowns in the fourth quarter, up from 821 million a year earlier but lower than the 4.57 billion expected by analysts.

KPMG partners see pay rise to £746,000 each despite slowing growth and falling profits

KPMG partners received an average of £746,000 each last year despite a slowdown in the professional services firm’s growth.

Payments to its 833 UK partners rose 4% in the 12 months to the end of September 2023, compared to £717,000 a year earlier.

During the same period, sales at the accounting giant jumped 9 per cent to £2.96 billion – a slowdown from the 16 per cent growth rate recorded the previous year.

GSK boosted by RSV vaccine

GSK’s profits beat market expectations in the fourth quarter as the pharmaceutical maker was boosted by the launch of its respiratory syncytial virus vaccine Arexvy.

The FTSE 100 company, which also saw sales rise thanks to continued demand for its shingles vaccines and HIV drugs, reported profit of 28.9p per share on revenue of 8. 05 billion, compared to an expected profit of 28.63p on turnover of £7.29 billion.

“GSK delivered excellent performance in 2023, with highlights including the exceptional launch of Arexvy and continued progress in our pipeline.

“We now anticipate at least 12 major launches from 2025, with new vaccines and specialty medicines for infectious diseases, HIV, respiratory diseases and oncology.

“With this progress and momentum, we expect to achieve another year of significant sales and profit growth in 2024, and we are improving our growth outlook for 2026 and 2031. We remain focused on realizing this potential – and more – to prevent and change the course of disease for millions of people.


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