Daily Mail

AO World shares rocket after shake-up pays off

- By John Abiona

SHARES in AO World jumped after it bumped up its annual profit forecast for the third time since November.

The Bolton-based online electrical retailer, which sells domestic appliances such as washing machines and dishwasher­s as well as phones and laptops, now expects to report between £37.5m and £45m of profit for the year to March 31. This is up on the previous range of £30m and £40m it gave in January.

AO World attributed its latest upgrade to the success in streamlini­ng its business. Shares soared 25.2pc, or 14.15p, to 70.4p.

The FTSE 100 fell 0.7pc, or 58.83 points, to 7876.28 and the FTSE 250 gained 0.09pc, or 17.18 points, to 19903.28.

The latest quarterly FTSE reshuffle – based on how companies are ranked in terms of value at the close of trading last night – is unlikely to see any change among the blue chips.

But there is plenty of movement among the mid-cap stocks with greetings card company Moonpig and gambling giant 888 set to be booted out of the FTSE 250 after a slump in their share prices.

Moonpig listed on the stock market in London to great fanfare in February 2021 and was seen as a potential pandemic winner as shoppers flocked online to buy cards and gifts for friends and family during lockdowns.

But its shares failed to live up to the hype even at the start. And they were further hit as lockdown restrictio­ns ended and shoppers returned to stores.

Shares slipped 0.3pc, or 0.3p, to 117.4p yesterday, leaving them well below the listing price of 350p and with a market value of around £ 400m – putting it in line for demotion from the FTSE 250. 888, which owns 1,400 William Hill shops in the UK as well as online brands including Mr Green, faces tougher gambling regulation­s as well as an internal investigat­ion into suspected money laundering on VIP customer accounts in the Middle East.

Its shares are down nearly 20pc so far this year and 85pc in the past 18 months, leaving it on course for relegation.

The stock rose yesterday by 3.4pc, or 3p, to 70.65p , giving it a value of £315m.

Chemicals group Croda Internatio­nal plunged 5.3pc, or 366p, to 6562p after sales tumbled at its consumer care division.

This overshadow­ed a 10.6pc rise in sales across the whole group to £ 2.09bn in 2022, while profit jumped 89.6pc to £780m.

Meanwhile Intertek saw its revenue increase by 4.9pc on a likefor-like basis to £3.19bn in 2022.

The quality assurance and product testing business, which advises companies on managing risks across their supply chains, said it expects ‘ mid- single digit’ like-for-like revenue growth this year. Shares fell 4.6pc, or 200p, to 4174p.

Serco, the outsourcin­g giant which does security, transport and immigratio­n work for the Government, saw its revenue increase by 2pc to £4.5bn in 2022 even though Covid-related business fell by £480m.

The company, which worked on the test and trace programme during the pandemic, reiterated its forecasts for this year, with profit expected to be around the same level as the previous 12 months. Shares gained 4.7pc, or 7p, to 156p.

Student accommodat­ion provider Unite Group cheered as it returned to full occupancy during the 2022-23 academic year.

It said an increasing number of students hoping to nail down places earlier meant it now expected rental growth of between 6pc and 7pc for the 2023-24 academic year. This is up on the previous target of 5pc. Shares fell 0.2pc, or 2p, to 983p.

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