Royal Bank of Scotland today issued a trading update which seems entirely in line with expectations and with what the bank said last week. More surprising is that chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin says he is not in talks right now with Bank of America about a deal over LaSalle. ”I don’t see any particular urgency on the subject,” he said on the call this morning. He has at least a fortnight before he has to get busy again. RBS shares are up just over 1 per cent.
United Utilities continues to slim down. It has decided water and electricity don’t mix and is selling its electricity distribution business. It will concentrate on water, which accounts for 85 per cent of the business. However, it says it won’t bid for Southern Water, which RBS is selling. The electricity business could be worth £1.3bn, some of which should flow back to shareholders. The shares are up 3½ per cent. This, though, may also be because the disposal will be seen by some as putting United Utilities in play.
We have strong full-year figures from Carphone Warehouse, where problems in broadband were compensated for by strength in the retailing business. The dividend is up 30 per cent and the shares are up 4 per cent (although there are signs of a fixed line price war this summer).
Today’s full-year numbers from Ryanair are also a bit better than expected but the outlook is more pessimistic, sending the shares 7 per cent lower. It is a similar story with the results from Intermediate Capital Group, a lender to LBOs, especially of mezzanine finance. Its profits for the year were a record but the group warned of increased competition. The shares are off 12 per cent.