Daily Mail

Capco cheers West End recovery ahead of merger

- By John Abiona

ProPerty group Capital & Counties cheered a recovery in the West end of London ahead of its £5bn mega merger with a rival landlord.

the FtSe 250 developer hailed the ‘ positive momentum’ across its Covent Garden estate amid a strong post-pandemic rebound as shoppers returned to stores. It generated £57.2m of rent in 2022, up from £48.9m a year earlier.

Covent Garden’s property value was unchanged at £1.7bn. But this came after gains made during the first half of last year were wiped out by the impact of higher interest rates and rising inflation.

Capco also swung to a loss of £211.8m, having made a £34.8m profit in 2021. the shares fell 3.3pc, or 4.2p, to 122.2p.

the update came less than a week before Capco merges with Shaftesbur­y. Last month the competitio­n watchdog cleared the deal which will bring together some of London’s prime real estate under a single company.

Shaftesbur­y (down 3.9pc, or 16.2p, to 402.2p) owns large parts of Chinatown, Carnaby Street and Fitzrovia north of oxford Street.

In 2020 Capco snapped up a 25pc stake in Shaftesbur­y and the pair announced plans to merge two years later.

the FTSE 100 rose 0.5pc, or 38.65 points, to 7914.93 and the FTSE 250 fell 0.2pc, or 32.68 points, to 19870.60.

Fresh data from China showed its manufactur­ing activity expanded at the fastest pace for more than a decade.

the upbeat figures helped lift metal prices and mining stocks.

Rio Tinto was up 4.6pc, or 260p, to 5972p, Antofagast­a added 4.2pc, or 66p, to 1636p, Glencore rose 3.5pc, or 17.55p, to 512.9p, and Anglo American increased by 3.3pc, or 95.5p, to 2980p.

But the best performanc­e of the day belonged to Weir Group. the mining technology firm topped the blue- chip index following a surge in revenue and profit.

Its dividend for 2022 increased by 38pc to 32.8p a share, and it started this year with a record order book following favourable conditions. Shares surged 6.3pc, or 119p, to 2018p.

Serco made gains after Citigroup raised its target price to 230p from 224p. It rose 4.9pc, or 7.7p, to 163.7p.

Meanwhile Nichols hailed the strength of its Vimto brand after the soft drinks maker reported a profit of £13.8m for 2022 having made a £17.7m loss a year earlier.

revenue soared 14.3pc to £164.9m. While it warned this year will be challengin­g, its profit is expected to meet market forecasts of £25.1m.

John Nichols, who is set to bring his 16-year tenure as chairman to an end, will be replaced by elizabeth McMeikan on April 26. It climbed 4.2pc, or 42p, to 1040p.

Just Eat results were a mixed bag after the takeaway delivery group reported a £16.7m profit for 2022 having racked up a £308m loss in 2021. But orders tumbled 9pc to £984m.

It has forecast a profit of around £198m for 2023 though some analysts warned this may be tricky as households cut back spending. It fell 2.1pc, or 37.6p, to 1771.4p.

over at Rathbones, the wealth manager remained upbeat even though its net outflow of £400m – the amount of money customers pulled out – was ‘low when compared with the market’. It rose 1.4pc, or 30p, to 2110p.

revenues at Me Group soared 21.2pc to £259.8m in the year to october 31 while profit jumped 86.7pc to £53.4m.

the photo booth and launderett­e operator said it was on course to beat market forecasts and reckons revenue will be between £280m and £300m with profits set to be £ 61m to £ 65m. Shares jumped 11.7pc, or 14p, to 140.5p.

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