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Twenty five days is barely enough time to unpack one’s office-move crates and order new business cards, let alone make one’s mark as the leader of a multinational organisation. Even desk-tidying US presidents are allowed 100 days. And I am still surrounded by the dusty boxes of colleagues several months into their new roles (if anyone wants a copy of The UK Corporate Governance Handbook 1993, email me).
So to expect Emma Walmsley, chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline ever since April 1, to reveal stunningly different quarterly numbers at midday today is a bit much. Nevertheless, analysts say they are looking for news of the drug development pipeline and possible changes in the earnings outlook if more generic competitors to GSK’s Advair asthma treatment launched.
GSK had previously guided that core earnings per share would rise by 5-7 per cent, if no generic competition to Advair was launched, or come in flat or slightly down in the event a rival coming to market. Just last Thursday, rival Teva unveiled its own asthma inhaler and an authorised generic of Advair, nearly three months after it got US approval to market a copy of the drug.
GSK has been preparing investors for the loss of Advair exclusivity for two years but the launch of generics will still hit the group, as it has sold more than a $1bn-worth of the drug exclusively each year since 2001.
In Ms Walmsley’s first quarterly results, UBS analysts forecast sales of £7.3bn, core operating profit of £1.88bn and core earnings per share of 24p.
Jupiter Asset Management boss Maarten Slendebroek has been in the job a little longer – just over two years – but some shareholders don’t think he’s done quite enough to merit a 50 per cent increase in his fixed salary (even with a cap on his bonus). So, rather than risk a backlash, the company has just pulled a proposal to boost the chief executive’s salary to £375,000, according to The Sunday Times (if anyone at Jupiter is reading, that copy of The UK Corporate Governance Handbook 1993 is still available).
This morning, the fund management group said it attracted net mutual fund inflows of £1.4bn during the first quarter – its best in a year – with Fixed Income, Absolute Return, Multi Asset and Global Emerging Market funds proving popular. Inflows were particularly strong in Asia and continental Europe. These flows, combined with investment performance and currency effects, led to mutual fund assets under management rising 7.9per cent to £38.0bn.
Mr Slendebroek said:
The continued strategy to diversify our business by product, client type and geography and delivery of strong investment performance after fees across a broad range of strategies has resulted in good inflows both internationally and within the UK.
Metro Bank chief executing Craig Donaldson receives 75 of his bonus in share options (so I’m assuming he doesn’t need that copy of The UK Corporate Governance Handbook 1993). In fact, he could be in line for more shares if milestones keep being hit.
This morning, the challenger bank announced record deposit growth in the quarter with customers paying in £1bn for the first time – representing a 13 per cent increase quarter-on-quarter to £9bn. At the same time, cost of deposits dropped from 66 basis points in the last quarter of 2016 to 61 basis points. Lending was also up, by 11 per cent quarter-on-quarter to £6.5bn. As a result, underlying profit before tax was £2m, compared with £1.5m in the fourth quarter of 2016. Customer accounts rose by 72,000 to 987,000.
Mr Donaldson said:
We continue to grow the business, and remain on track to open a further ten stores before the year end. Our business continues to deliver across all areas – Retail, Business, Commercial and Private – and our model, culture and focus on creating FANS remains a compelling alternative for consumers and businesses alike.
But London Stock Exchange chief executive Xavier Rolet has the opposite problem to GSK’s Ms Walmsley. He had been widely expected to step down if the exchange’s merger with Deutsche Borse went ahead. However, when it collapsed amid regulatory stalemate, he said: “It looks like my retirement has been postponed.” He is now coming up to eight years in the job (so perhaps he needs a copy of The UK Corporate Governance Handbook 1993).
Earlier this month, Mr Rolet accompanied Theresa May on her trip to Saudi Arabia – one of the few private-sector representatives on her delegation, showing how much the exchange wants to host the international component of oil business Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering. It is expected to be the largest of all time.
This morning, though, the LSE’s trading statement focused on its clearing business – stumbling block for the merger as it is such a money maker. Its LCH business increased income by 31 per cent (or 21 per cent at constant currency), with 27 per cent revenue growth in over-the-counter business from higher SwapClear client trades, and good performances also in CDSClear and ForexClear. Non-OTC clearing revenue was up 15 per cent.
However, capital markets revenues fell 4 per cent in constant currency terms, reflecting lower trading levels. Overall, then, quarterly group revenue rose 8 per cent year on year to £421m.
Mr Rolet said:
We continue to be actively engaged in exploring selective ongoing organic and inorganic investments in order to drive further growth.
FT Opening Quote, with commentary by Matthew Vincent, is your early Square Mile briefing. You can sign up for the full newsletter here.