The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Will Rose’s vision for RBS deliver for the taxpayer?
THE stage is set for Alison Rose to lay out her ambitions as the new head of Royal Bank of Scotland when the bank unveils its fourth quarter and annual results this week. It is Rose’s biggest event since taking the job.
Number-crunchers at Swiss bank UBS reckon fourth-quarter adjusted pre-tax profits will have dipped 8 per cent from last year to £907million.
But it might not be the figures that grab the City’s attention on Friday.
Analysts say it will be the strategy Rose lays out that really moves the share price up or down.
She is expected to unveil major cost cuts, possibly in the investment banking arm, NatWest Markets, but also in the high street.
UBS said: ‘We expect the share price on the day and in the near term to be entirely driven by new strategic measures to be announced by Rose, particularly around cost reductions and reallocation of capital from NatWest Markets and a number of IT initiatives seeded under previous chief executive Ross McEwan.’
The Government still owns a 62 per cent stake in the bailed-out bank so Chancellor Sajid Javid will be watching closely ahead of next month’s Budget.
THERE has been plenty of talk about Ocado’s joint venture with Marks & Spencer, but the focus this week will be on how the grocery delivery firm is faring abroad.
One major reason for Ocado’s impressive share price run, which has pushed it into the FTSE100, is demand for its technology. Ocado has signed a deal with Kroger (and other grocers) to help the US supermarket automate its warehouses.
Ocado’s annual results on Tuesday will update investors on progress – and broker Peel Hunt believes its costly expansion will cause adjusted pre-tax losses to have doubled to more than £100 million.
TUI reveals its firstquarter results on Tuesday, but they could be overshadowed by a revolt over pay at the travel giant’s annual meeting on the same day.
Bookings have taken off after the demise of Thomas Cook. But its key rival faced questions over executive pay when it crashed, and Tui is under pressure over its own handouts.
Shareholder advisers Glass Lewis and Pirc have criticised Tui for tweaking bonus targets, which could prompt investors to vote against its remuneration policy. Tui replied that, as a German company, the pay scheme for executives is set by an independent supervisory board.
AS GlaxoSmithKline disappointed investors last week, it’s over to its big UK rival AstraZeneca, which posts annual results on Friday.
Chief executive Pascal Soriot has revitalised the firm’s drugs pipeline and won over shareholders.
Scribblers at Deutsche Bank expect AstraZeneca to hit the top end of its guidance of 9 per cent for sales growth in the fourth quarter, which would mean a rise in annual turnover of 14 per cent.
Since rejecting Pfizer’s £55-a-share offer in 2014, AstraZeneca’s share price has risen to nearly £77, vindicating Soriot and his decision to turn down the American firm’s cash.