Very interesting stuff on Cadbury Schweppes today. Nelson Pelz, the activist US investor who really shook up Heinz, has been confirmed as having nearly 3 per cent in the stock, as we suspected in our market report this morning. Cadbury shares are moving higher, up more than 9 per cent at midday. This could get fun.
The other big story today is HMV. It doesn’t sound very promising but the new chief executive, Simon Fox, has come up with a three-year turnround plan. This involves new “interactive” HMV stores with “refreshment hubs” where shoppers can download stuff. The shares are off more than 10 per cent, although this is also because HMV has managed to deliver yet another profit warning.
Antofagasta has become the latest miner to return cash to shareholders, $541m in this case. The copper miner today reported a record annual pre-tax profit of $2.86bn – a rise of 86 per cent – on the back of higher copper prices and increased production.
Tullett Prebon, the inter-dealer broker spun out from Collins Stewart in December, this morning reported operating profits of £114.8m in its first full year of reporting as an independent company, up from £52.4m. We also have a doubling of profits at Panmure Gordon together with an upbeat view of the rest of the year. Interesting that Collins Stewart shares should be off nearly 3 per cent this morning after reporting its results yesterday.
Countrywide, the estate agency group being bought by Apollo Advisers, has just reported a near three-fold increase in annual pre-tax profits. Results also from Charlemagne Capital, the emerging market fund manager which floated about a year ago and whose shares have done very little since. Today’s figures are not bad.
Disaster at Biofuels. The renewable energy group has seen its shares almost halve this morning after issuing a profit warning and saying it badly needs another £16m-£25m. FT Alphaville smells burnt flesh, as they rather charmingly put it.