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May 24: So farewell then, Sir Robin Saxby. One of Britain’s great technology entrepreneurs said today he will be retiring as chairman of ARM Holdings, the company he helped found 15 years ago. ARM is now worth £1.6bn and provides chips for 90 per cent of the world’s mobile phone handsets. Saxby, 59, also saw the company through the madness of the dotcom boom, when ARM shares hit £10. Today, they are off 2 per cent at 118½p. He will retire from the board in October, when he takes up the role of president of the Institute of Engineering and Technology but will retain the honorary title of chairman emeritus at ARM. He will be succeeded by Doug Dunn, 61, who is already on the board as a non-executive.
Eurotunnel has reached a preliminary agreement with some of its creditors about restructuring part of its £6bn debt. The group has reached a deal with the ad hoc committee representing holders of half the debt, which is progress of sorts. Strangely, however, there is no mention in Eurotunnel’s statement of any role for Goldman Sachs or Macquarie. We are checking why. Vinci, the French construction group which had been talking about playing a role in the restructuring, has pulled out, although it isn’t clear yet why either.
GCap shares are up a bit despite some very ugly full-year results, which show a 40 per cent decline in pre-tax profits and a 26 per cent decline in Capital Radio’s revenues during April and May. To some degree, this surely reflects the pain that the station is going to have to suffer if it is going to get its ad rates up by cutting the number of commercials it runs by about half, as it is doing. GCap managed to find some costs it could cut, which is what is supporting the shares today. For now, chief executive Ralph Bernard is still being given the benefit of the doubt.
Surprisingly, GCap said it and other media groups, especially TV, had not experienced the advertising boost they had expected around the World Cup next month. Which reminds me: let us know how you and your office are going to watch the World Cup. Will you have it on your computer? Is your office making any special arrangements, or banning it completely?
Doubts surround the £800m flotation of CMC, as reported in today’s Telegraph and Independent. Financial News says the currency and derivatives broker was last night marketing its IPO at nearly a quarter less than planned but might pull it altogether because of the market instability. This would be very disappointing for founder and boss Peter Cruddas.
We also have a number of results and trading updates from retailers. They include Kingfisher, GUS, Kesa and Mothercare. Elsewhere, Kelda, the utilities group, warned that it would be hit by rising energy costs and Scottish Power reporting strong annual profits while warning of more price rises.
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