Solid Future af­ter fur­lough re­pay­ment

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - louis ash­worth mar­ket re­port

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.”

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