Direct Business: Sainsbury’s eyes £1bn in savings; Barratt buys Redrow; PZ Cussons experienced naira losses

The FTSE 100 index will open at 8am. Among the companies with trading reports and updates today are Sainsbury’s, Barratt Developments, Redrow, PZ Cussons and Grainger. Read the Business Live blog Wednesday 7 February below.

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Marks & Spencer is poised to overtake Waitrose: the middle classes return to powerhouse High St

Marks & Spencer is poised to overtake Waitrose as it captures growing numbers of middle-class shoppers.

In the latest sign that the High Street retailer has regained its mojo, industry group Nielsen said yesterday it was competing with Waitrose, which each have 3.8 per cent of the market.

It marked a major change in the fortunes of the two favorite teams in central England. In 2021, Waitrose had a 4.2 per cent share of the market and M&S just 3.2 per cent.

NatWest has asked for a new chief executive as the government prepares to sell part of its 35% stake.

Natwest has been urged to provide “clarity” on its next chief executive before its public share sale, which could come as soon as June.

The state-backed bank is headed by Paul Thwaite, who was appointed interim chairman for 12 months last July after Dame Alison Rose was forced to resign as a result of the bank break-up scandal involving former UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

PZ Cussons is experiencing losses in Nigerian naira

PZ Cussons has cut its earnings forecast and interim dividend after swinging to a loss in the first half on the back of Nigeria’s currency depreciation.

The maker of Imperial Leather and Carex soap expects adjusted pre-tax profits of between £55 million and £60 million for the year to May 31.

PZ Cussons recorded a statutory operating loss of £89.7m for the first half, compared to a profit of £39.2m during the same period the previous year.

The company announced an interim dividend of 1.5 pence per share, compared to 2.67 pence last year.

“The most significant challenge we have faced to date is the devaluation of the Nigerian naira, which today is approximately 70% weaker than a year ago, representing the largest decline in the currency’s history,” said CEO Jonathan Myers.

“As we set out in September 2023, macroeconomic developments in Nigeria will be the key determinant of FY24 results.

“While we continue to make good progress in managing this volatility, further currency depreciation in recent weeks will inevitably impact FY24 results.” As a Board of Directors we have taken the prudent step to reduce the interim dividend in light of the currency depreciation.’

Barratt buys rival Redrow

Barratt Developments is set to buy Redrow in an all-stock deal that values ​​its smaller British housebuilding rival at just over £2.5bn.

The deal will see each Redrow shareholder receive 1.44 new Barratt shares for every Redrow share, Barratt said in a statement.

Immediately after completion of the transaction, Redrow shareholders will own approximately 32.8 percent of the combined group and Barratt shareholders will own approximately 67.2 percent.

“We have great respect for Redrow, its comprehensive strategy, its leadership and employees, and its high-quality homes and communities,” said Barratt President David Thomas.

This is an exciting opportunity to combine two highly complementary businesses, creating a homebuilder that is exceptional in terms of quality, service and sustainability, capable of building more of the high-quality homes this country needs.

“The combined group will leverage the strengths of both Barratt and Redrow, providing significant benefits to our people, our supply chains and, most importantly, to our customers.”

Reduce stamp duty now! Jeff Prestridge says Hunt must address taxes that are destroying the housing market

Sainsbury’s is looking to generate £1bn in savings

Sainsbury’s has set a new cost saving target of £1bn over three years so the supermarket group can fund better prices and higher wages for its workers.

Updating the strategy, the group has also committed to a progressive dividend policy from the start of its 2024/25 year and is commencing a share buyback programme, with £200m of capital repurchased in 2024/25.

Chief executive Simon Roberts said: “Our Food First strategy has delivered on its promise over the last three years, making the Sainsbury’s business stronger with a clearer position on value and a significant refocus on our innovation. Customers have recognized the progress we have made, as our share gains have shown In the market.

“Sainsbury’s Next Level strategy is all about giving customers more of what they come to Sainsbury’s for – outstanding value, unbeatable quality food and great service. Thanks to our size, brand and people, we are uniquely placed to serve customers across Sainsburys, Argos and Nectar.”

(tags for translation) Daily Mail

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