Solid Future after furlough repayment
MAGAZINE publisher Future jumped 14pc after it became the latest company to pay back furlough funds.
The FTSE 250 group said trading had remained solid over recent months, with results expected “to be towards the top end of market expectations”.
It has commenced a consultation with employee representatives over proposed job cuts, as it integrates TI Media into its operations.
Future, which publishes an array of titles including Total Film and PC
Gamer, said it expects to achieve cost synergies of £15m a year within two years of the takeover, which was announced last October.
Zillah Byng-Thorne, its chief executive, added: “[The] strong group performance we reported at our half-year results has continued and we remain confident of delivering another year of growth within our portfolio and further strategic progress.”
The group’s shares rose 168p to £13.78, leaving it as the standout performer on London’s main market on a mixed day for stocks.
The FTSE 100 dropped 28.8 points to end down 0.5pc at 6,261.5, lagging its European peers as gains for pharma giant AstraZeneca were unable to offset a broader slide among London’s blue-chips. Astra jumped as much as 10pc during the day after medical journal The Lancet reported that the group’s potential Covid-19 vaccine – which is being developed in conjunction with University of Oxford researchers – had shown promising results in early human testing. Its gains cooled quickly, however, and it ended the day up 133p at £93.20.
More broadly, the mood on the FTSE 100 was nervous: energy heavyweights Royal Dutch Shell and BP both lost ground, closing down 23.2 at £12.17 and 6.1p at 303.2p respectively, while lender HSBC slipped 5.25p to 374.3p amid rising tensions between the US and China over the situation in Hong Kong and alleged human rights abuses.
The travel sector continued to be buffered by fears over a resurgence in cases around the world. British Airways-owner IAG continued a run of wobbly sessions, dropping 7.9p to 211p. Cruise operator Carnival, meanwhile, fell 36.7p to 977.8p, while easyJet shed 23.6p to 639.4p. SSP, owner of railway sandwich bar chain Upper Crust, retreated 12.6p to 233.2p while train booking app Trainline lost 20.2p to 399.4p and FirstGroup fell 2p to 33.3p.
Builders rose on the back of hopes for a mini property market boom thanks to the Chancellor’s tax cuts, with Berkeley up 63p at £44.88 and Barratt Developments advancing 5.8p to 547.4p.
One remarkable small-cap move caught some attention: Aim-listed Synairgen, a pharma group spun out of the University of Southampton, has soared more that 428pc, from 36.5p to 190p, after one of its drugs cut the risk of Covid-19 symptoms developing.
Patients who received SNG001 had a 79pc lower risk of developing severe disease compared to those given a placebo. Those who took the treatment were more than twice as likely to recover.
Richard Marsden, Synairgen’s chief executive, said: “Our efforts are now focused on working with the regulators and other key groups to progress this potential Covid-19 treatment as rapidly as possible.”