Tips from the press
The Tempus column in the Times has taken a look at outsourcing giant
"The market was taken by surprise. Capita hasn't raised a penny in equity finance for 12 years and, moreover, had said only two months ago that it planned to slow the pace of acquisition," writes Patrick Hosking, adding that Chief Executive Paul Pindar's decision to sell £2.7m worth of his own shares added to the negative sentiment (despite it being for personal reasons).
Nevertheless, Hosking notes that the outsourcing market remains strong with public sector austerity actually being a positive for Capita. The shares trade at less than 13 times expected 2012 earnings and yield a prospective 3.7 per cent - "That's more expensive than some rivals, but Capita has the advantage of scale, reputation and a longer track record that reassures clients as well as investors." Hold, recommends the paper.
The Telegraph's Questor column has also given Capita a hold rating. The paper acknowledges that while there are dilution concerns with the share placing, an alternative route to raising capital would have been a rights issue "and the cost would be prohibitive for such a small fundraising."
"Questor agrees part of the [share price] fall could be technical and the shares may recover, but remains cautious," said Garry White (Last IC rating: Hold, 24 Apr).
Tempus also has analysed newspaper and magazine group
The shares trade at five times expected 2012 earnings and yield 9 per cent - "That's the measure of how seriously investors regard the move online of newspapers and magazines," Hosking writes.
"Smiths is demonstrating that it can prosper for a few years yet in an environment in which physical sales of newspapers, magazines and books are all declining. Diversification is the long-term answer and the schools foray looks a good bet." Tempus says buy (Last IC rating: Buy, 24 Apr).
Business press headlines:
Angela Merkel launched a staunch defence of Europe's fiscal pact as politicians from the Netherlands, Spain and Greece scrambled to keep their own austerity measures on track. In a rare concession, the German Chancellor admitted that austerity alone would not solve the crisis but she insisted that the wave of political opposition to fiscal discipline was wrong. "We're not saying that saving solves all problems," Ms Merkel said at a conference in Berlin. "[But] you can't spend more than you take in. You can't live your whole life this way. Everybody knows this," according to The Telegraph.
The movement to oust Rupert Murdoch as chairman of News Corporation gathered pace on Tuesday, after a major British shareholder group said it was planning to table a resolution against him. The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), whose members control £100bn of investments, said those with top-tier Class B voting stock were preparing to file a motion jointly with American shareholder group Christian Brothers Investment Services. They will call for an independent chairman to replace Mr Murdoch, to help address the "lax ethical culture and lack of effective board oversight" exposed by News Corporation's "still emerging scandals," The Telegraph reports.
Bank bonuses should be subjected to longer deferral and claw-back periods to curb the excesses still prevalent in the City, a Bank of England policymaker has urged. Andrew Haldane, executive director for financial stability and a member of the Financial Policy Committee, said "while bank performance has fallen off a cliff, executive pay remains close to pre-crisis Himalayan heights". He argued in a speech given in Berlin that bonus deferral, or claw-back periods, should be extended to 10 years or more on an internationally co-ordinated basis, from three or four years at present, to make bankers responsible and accountable for their decisions for longer, The Telegraph says.
Stagnating growth blew a hole in tax revenues last year, raising fears that George Osborne will struggle to bring the blockbuster deficit under control. A day before the publication of key figures charting the economy's performance in the first quarter, the official data showed that tax revenues in the 2011-12 fiscal year were £16bn below the level forecast in the 2011 Budget. Michael Saunders, UK economist at Citigroup, said: "The improvement in the fiscal position seems to be stalling. We expect that revenues will undershoot again in the 2012-13 year - and underlying fiscal improvement will stall - reflecting continued weakness in the economy." This came as David Miles, a member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, said last night that the economy could have shrunk in the first three months of the year, tipping Britain back into the first double-dip recession since the 1970s, The Times reports.
There was no doubting the twin passions of Steve Morgan, the executive chairman of the housebuilder Redrow, yesterday. The owner of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC wore his maroon and white company tie and gold Wolves cufflinks to announce plans to raise nearly £80m to fund the expansion of Redrow - a business he founded nearly four decades ago. Displaying no visible signs of dismay at Wanderers' relegation last weekend, he said that he planned to plough nearly £20m into the housebuilder and fully underwrite the rest of the fundraising. Redrow will use the funds raised to expand its London division and to take advantage of other "strategic opportunities" outside the capital, The Times says.
Chief executive Philip Clarke’s attempts to revive
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