Business Briefing: Sainsbury's profits fall & Saudi Aramco incentivised by the UK

London Stock Exchange

Sainsbury’s Profits fall by 9%

The UK’s second largest supermarket chain said profits came in at £251m in the 28 weeks to the 23 September, while like-for-like sales excluding fuel went up by 1.6%.

It said the fall in profits was due to price cutting, wage cost inflation and the consolidation of Argos.  The retailer reported a 9% fall in interim profits.

The retailer tried to limit the damage by suggesting value of sterling has fallen sharply since last year’s Brexit referendum, pushing up the cost of imports. Initially, retailers were protected against those increased costs because they buy in advance, but more recently they have felt the effects of the currency devaluation.

Saudi Aramco is getting a $2Bn loan Guarantee

The UK government is finalising a $2bn loan guarantee for the most valuable company in the world as it hopes the Saudi Arabian Oil producing Giant will list in London.

UK Export and Finance (UKEF) is close to signing off a “significant” finance facility with Saudi Aramco, hoping it will be used to support making purchases from UK businesses. The value of such a deal is based on the London beating New York to listing of corporate superpower.

Any such deal will be a huge positive for the government and will demonstrate London’s resilience and determined appetite post Brexit and will settle a lot of nerves within the square mile.

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Marks & Spencer’s reviews growth plans following sales drop

Marks and Spencer will open fewer Simply Food shops than expected after same-store food sales fell in the first six months of its financial year.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said last year the retailer would open 200 Simply Food shops over the next five years. Like-for-like food sales, which exclude new store trade, fell 0.1%, although overall growth increased by 4.4%.

It also said that its profit margins on food had been hit because of rising producer costs,  largely inflation caused by Brexit, as well as its policy of not passing on price increases to its customers.

London Stock Exchange Feud is Heating up

The London Stock Exchange is operating amidst some uncertainty, as an unsettled board member is trying to remove the chairman. It took a twist late yesterday as shareholder Sir Chris Hohn requested an extraordinary shareholder meeting as part of a dramatic bid to remove chairman Donald Brydon.

Sir Chris Hohn, used its holding in the company to call for a meeting to remove LSE chairman Donald Brydon over claims he pushed out chief executive Xavier Rolet. LSE acknowledge the letter from Sir Chris Hohn and a date for the meeting is yet to be set.

A Summary of how the Markets have been Performing

The FTSE is showing signs it will be up 0.05 per cent to 7,488. The German Dax is expected to climb 0.06 per cent to 13,191 and the French Cac is projected to be down 0.03 per cent at 5,406. As the Eurozone continues it’s growth.

  1. FTSE 100 falls below 7,500
  2. EU cuts UK growth estimates
  3. Eurozone growth accelerates


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