Daily Mail

Bunzl beefs up with £256m double deal

- By Calum Muirhead

FTSE 100 distributi­on firm Bunzl bounced into the bluechip risers after unveiling two additions to its business.

One is McCue Corp, a Boston firm that sells safety bollards, queuing barriers and corner guards found in supermarke­ts.

The firm has operations in the US states of Massachuse­tts, Texas and California, as well as in the UK and other markets.

The second is Medshop, a medical supplies firm focused on Australia, which sells everything from stethoscop­es to hand sanitiser. The group has operations in Melbourne as well as Singapore.

Bunzl completed the purchase of Medshop this month, with the McCue acquisitio­n expected to be finalised later this year. While the prices were not revealed, analysts at Peel Hunt calculated it splashed out £256m, taking its acquisitio­n spend to £390m this year.

Bunzl boss Frank van Zanten said McCue represente­d ‘an exciting expansion’ of the firm’s safety operations, while Medshop will allow it to target an expanded customer base in Australia. Shares rose 1.4pc, or 26p, to 2603p.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.5pc, or 34.37 points, at 7034.06, while the FTSE 250 dipped 0.4pc, or 88.47 points, to 23,687.26.

Miners weighed on the blue-chip index as sharp cuts to steel production in China sent iron ore prices to their lowest level in 10 months. China is attempting to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the steel industry, one of its biggest polluters.

The drop spooked analysts at Barclays, who downgraded their rating on BHP, sending the shares down 2.6pc, or 54.5p, to 2026p. The bank also trimmed target prices for Anglo American, which slipped 3.1pc, or 96.5p, to 2996.5p, Rio Tinto, sending it 2pc, or 108p, lower to 5179p, and FTSE 250 digger Ferrexpo, which slumped 9.4pc, or 35.8p to 343.6p.

Oil prices continued to rise as Hurricane Nicholas slammed into the US Gulf coast mere weeks after Hurricane Ida, meaning production in the area is likely to suffer disruption.

Brent crude rose towards $74 a barrel, but BP slipped 0.8pc, or 2.3p, to 300p and rival Shell dipped 0.4pc, or 5.4p, to 1451.2p.

Ticket booking app Trainline expects to return to profitabil­ity in 2022 as sales recover from the pandemic amid a surge in ‘staycation’ trips in the UK. Sales for the six months to August 31 stood at £1bn, up from £358m in the same period a year ago. Despite the positive update, the shares were down 2.6pc, or 9.8p, at 368.2p.

Kape Technologi­es, a privacy software firm controlled by Cypriot-Israeli gambling tycoon Teddy Sagi, jumped 14.3pc, or 50.5p, to 404p after a deal to acquire virtual private network outfit Express VPN for £676m. The company has tapped investors for £258m to help fund the purchase. Payments firm Equals Group was up 8.8pc, or 5p, at 62p after a record performanc­e so far in its third quarter. Silver Bullet, a digital marketing and data specialist, was also lifted 2.8pc, or 7p, to 259.5p after securing a contract with Irish broadcaste­r RTE.

Audio recording firm Focusrite hit a bad note as it warned of supply constraint­s due to a global shortage of semiconduc­tors and other components as well as ‘significan­tly higher’ shipping costs. Shares fell 2.3pc, or 40p, to 1675p.

Printer ink maker Xaar slid 13.8pc, or 31.4p, to 195.6p after a disappoint­ing result. For the six months to June 30, it slumped to a £2.1m loss from a £1.3m profit in the same period last year.

Electric meter maker Smart Metering Systems also tumbled 13.7pc, or 140p, to 884p after completing a discounted fundraisin­g to support its growing pipeline of orders. The group raised £175m by placing 19.4m new shares at 900p each, a 12pc discount to its Monday closing price.

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