Ren­tokil buoyed by di­rec­tor reshuf­fle

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - Louis ash­worth

A GAME of pass-the-di­rec­tor be­tween Ren­tokil and Mor­risons de­liv­ered pos­i­tive re­sults for the for­mer’s shares on a day when a slew of FTSE 100 board­room changes were un­veiled.

Jeremy Townsend, Ren­tokil’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, an­nounced his in­ten­tion to step down from the pest con­trol spe­cial­ist af­ter 10 years in that role. He has been ap­pointed to the board of su­per­mar­ket Mor­risons, where he will serve as a non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. His role at Ren­tokil will be taken up by Stu­art In­gall-Tombs, who was pre­vi­ously the FTSE 100 com­pany’s Euro­pean CFO.

At Mor­risons, Mr Townsend will take up the space va­cated by Belinda Richards, who is tak­ing up a role as in­de­pen­dent non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Jupiter Fund Man­age­ment.

Ren­tokil shares rose 7.6p to 522.8p. Mor­risons fell 1p to 184.4p, while peers Sains­bury’s and Tesco lost ground too.

Mean­while, shares in blue-chip in­surer Aviva jumped af­ter it an­nounced the sud­den exit of Mau­rice Tul­loch, its chief ex­ec­u­tive, who was re­placed by for­mer non-ex­ec­u­tive Amanda Blanc. Its shares climbed 9.9p to 283.4p. In com­par­i­son, Lloyds Bank­ing Group was left fairly un­moved, firm­ing 0.2p at 31.2p, af­ter an­nounc­ing boss An­to­nio Hor­taO­so­rio would step down next year.

House­builders climbed amid spec­u­la­tion over a po­ten­tial cut to stamp duty and an en­cour­ag­ing out­look from in­dus­try leader Bar­ratt De­vel­op­ments. Bar­ratt was the big­gest riser on the FTSE 100, climb­ing 39.1p to 529.4p. The group said all its oper­a­tional sites had re­opened by the end of June, and that its for­ward or­der book was still strong.

Jefferies’ Gly­nis Jack­son said a trad­ing up­date from the group gave a “more up­beat view” than ex­pected.

Peers were buoyed by the up­date, as well as re­ports that a stamp duty hol­i­day is loom­ing, and pur­chas­ing man­agers’ in­dex data that sug­gests the con­struc­tion sec­tor is un­der­go­ing a res­i­den­tial-led re­bound.

Per­sim­mon rose 139p to £23.98, Tay­lor Wim­pey gained 7p to 144p, and Berke­ley put on 161p to £43.24.

Ms Jack­son said house­builders would feel “a mild ben­e­fit even­tu­ally” if the Chan­cel­lor pushed for­ward with a stamp duty pause. The rise came on a pos­i­tive day for Lon­don stocks, which chalked up solid gains as in­vestors bet on a new wave of re­lief from gov­ern­ments and cen­tral banks to help tackle the on­go­ing eco­nomic ef­fects of Covid-19. There was a sim­i­lar story across the con­ti­nent.

The pan-Euro­pean Stoxx 600 touched its high­est level in the month, with Ger­many’s Dax and France’s Cac both ris­ing solidly. Euro­pean tech shares be­came the first sec­tor to re­coup losses from the wide­spread mar­ket drop that started in Fe­bru­ary.

There were plenty of rea­sons for in­di­vid­ual moves on a day packed with cor­po­rate news.

Emerg­ing mar­kets-fo­cused lender Standard Char­tered ad­vanced 22.3p to 457.3p af­ter the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice con­vinced a New York fed­eral court to dis­miss a suit ac­cus­ing the bank of en­gag­ing in prac­tices that con­tra­vened sanc­tions against Iran.

Shares in Boohoo dropped by nearly a quar­ter fol­low­ing a Sun­day Times re­port that al­leged poor treat­ment of work­ers at one of the on­line fash­ion gi­ant’s Le­ices­ter-based sup­pli­ers. The group – a long-time dar­ling of the Aim mar­ket – fell 90.8p to 296.7p.

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