MARKET SHARE SLIP FORCES ASDA TO FIGHT BACK
Asda has been forced to fight back with a new marketing push as it saw the slowest sales growth of the big four supermarkets for the fourth consecutive month, according to industry data. Kantar Worldpanel, the consumer research group, found that Asda had the lowest sales growth of the big four in the 12 weeks to April 18, at 2.5 per cent.
BAE SETS SIGHTS ON ATLANTIC MARINE FOR US SHIP REPAIR EXPANSION
BAE Systems has stepped up plans to expand its ship repair operations in the US and has held talks to buy Atlantic Marine, a business owned by JF Lehman, the private equity group. A deal, which could be worth $200-$400m (£131m-£262m) would add Atlantic Marine’s four shipyards along the US Gulf coast and east coast to BAE’s operations. Europe’s largest defence contractor is the US’s leading provider of non-nuclear ship repair, conversion and overhaul for government and commercial customers.
WHITEBOARD DEMAND AIDS PROMETHEAN
Promethean World, the maker of interactive whiteboards, reported a 49 per cent increase in first-quarter sales, helping its shares to recover some of the ground lost since last month’s flotation. Lancashire-based Promethean said revenue rose to £53.9m in the first three months of the year, partly boosted by a large order to install 4,550 electronic whiteboards in 1,900 schools in Andalusia, Spain. In total, the company sold 41,000 interactive display systems in the first quarter, up 62 per cent on the previous year. The growth rate is far ahead of market expectations, which were for revenue increases of about 18 to 20 per cent.
GKN’S TRADEMARK TRANSFORMED INTO REVENUE STREAM FOR PENSION SCHEME
GKN returned to profit in the year’s first quarter with its best performance since the start of the recession.
The engineer reported a 50 per cent increase in automotive sales to £852m and a trading profit of £51m, compared with a trading loss of £47m in the first quarter of last year. The company said it would address its £510m pension fund deficit through a radical plan to direct licensing income from its own name into the defined-benefit scheme.
CITY DERIDES ‘COWBOY’ BID FOR CHLORIDE
The American raider targeting Chloride was accused last night of “gung-ho cowboy tactics” as a battle for the British industrial group looked set to get increasingly hostile.
The Daily Telegraph
CITY WARNED IT WILL TAKE 10 DAYS TO FORM A GOVERNMENT IN THE EVENT OF A HUNG PARLIAMENT
Britain’s leading constitutional expert has warned City traders to brace themselves for a 10-day delay before the next Government is announced in the event of a hung Parliament. Professor Robert Hazell, who has helped all the political parties and Whitehall prepare for a hung Parliament, has briefed financial chiefs of the likely processes involved in an attempt to prevent panic on the London markets on May 7.
RENAULT’S VOLVO STAKE SALE RUMOURS REV UP
Renault’s sale of its 20 per cent stake in Volvo, the Swedish truck manufacturer, is rumoured to be close. Market sources claimed the French carmaker has hired bankers from Lazard, BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse to advise.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
BERNANKE URGES DEFICIT-CUTTING ARTICLE
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke Tuesday said the US needs to come up with a plan to cut the budget deficit soon, telling a White House debt commission it should look at how the tax system could be changed. Mr. Bernanke’s remarks kicked off the first meeting of an 18-member White House panel charged with drafting ideas to reduce the country's $1.4 trillion deficit.
AIRBUS COULD SUFFER ORDERS IN UNITED, CONTINENTAL DEAL
Airbus may be left with fewer aircraft orders and face possible cancellations if UAL’s United Airlines pulls off a merger deal with Continental Airlines. While aircraft orders at United are split between the two major commercial jet makers, Continental is a loyal Boeing fan