Home Money BUSINESS LIVE: Co-op profits slump; Vodafone-Three merger set for in-depth probe; Entain Chair to exit

BUSINESS LIVE: Co-op profits slump; Vodafone-Three merger set for in-depth probe; Entain Chair to exit

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BUSINESS LIVE: Co-op profits slump; Vodafone-Three merger set for in-depth probe; Entain Chair to exit



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The FTSE 100 is up 0.1 percent in early trading. Companies with reports and trading updates today include Co-op, Vodafone, Entain, Ascential, Motorpoint and Ocado Group. Read the Business Live blog from Thursday April 4 below.

> If you use our app or a third-party site, click here to read Business Live

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Cooperative profits are falling while the supermarket group is struggling with record numbers of shoplifting

Market update: FTSE 100 up 0.1%; FTSE 250 adds 0.1%

London-listed shares have risen, supported by a rise in the number of precious metals miners, as caution prevails ahead of a slew of domestic and global economic data for clues to the path of interest rates.

Precious metals miners are up 0.7 percent as gold prices hit a new record high.

Investors are turning cautiously optimistic after a report showed U.S. services sector growth slowed further in March, while Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reaffirmed that rate cuts are on the way if the data comes out as the central bank expects.

UK services PMI data for March will be released later today.

Cab Payments has gained 11.6 percent after the fintech company received a license for payment services in the Netherlands.

Disney King Iger triumphs in boardroom battle with activist investors

Disney and CEO Bob Iger emerged victorious last night after a lengthy battle with activist investors.

In a major vote of confidence, shareholders elected all twelve of the company’s nominees to the board of directors, including Iger himself.

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The Ocado chairman will not stand for re-election

Ocado chairman Rick Haythornthwaite will not stand for re-election at the group’s annual general meeting next year due to his ‘increasing commitment’ as the newly appointed chairman of NatWest.

‘Since announcing my appointment as NatWest group leader, I have given extensive thought to my workload. It has become clear that pressure on my time is likely to increase in the medium term,” Haythornthwaite said in a statement.

Virgin Atlantic on course for first profit since Covid

Virgin Atlantic said it is on course to make its first profit since the pandemic after strong demand for winter breaks in the Caribbean boosted business.

The airline – which is co-owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and US carrier Delta Airlines – yesterday reported a loss of £139m for 2023, following a loss of £206m last year.

1712218128 573 BUSINESS LIVE Co op profits slump Vodafone Three merger set for in depth

FTSE Small Cap Index ‘will cease to exist in 2028’ as analysts predict takeover that ‘fuels frenzy’

1712218129 979 BUSINESS LIVE Co op profits slump Vodafone Three merger set for in depth

Move over chair to finish

Barry Gibson, chairman of sports betting and gaming group Entain, will leave his position at the end of September, Coral’s owner told shareholders this morning.

Gibson could leave even earlier if a CEO for the group is appointed, it added.

Stella David, Interim CEO, said: “Barry has been a great mentor and source of wise counsel to so many people during his time as Chairman of Entain, and I would like to personally thank him for his continued support.

“The fact that we now have a solid platform and a clear plan for future growth is in no small part due to his efforts. I am fully focused on my role as interim CEO as we work to accelerate our operational strategy, and I look forward to taking over from Barry in due course.”

Vodafone-Three merger ready for in-depth competitive research

The Competition and Markets Authority will launch an in-depth investigation into the merger between Vodafone’s UK operations and Hutchison’s Three UK, after the parties failed to offer solutions to address the regulator’s competition concerns.

The $19 billion commitment, announced last year, will reduce the number of networks from four to three, challenging the age-old principle that four helps keep prices low.

Britain entices Chinese car giant Chery to build new assembly plant despite spying concerns

A Chinese state-owned car company is hoping to secure subsidies from Britain to build an assembly plant, which is likely to raise new safety concerns.

Chery is considering where to build a European factory, with Britain a possible option, along with Spain, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

It comes amid warnings about the threat posed by China, with Britain and the US recently identifying the country as the source of a wave of cyber attacks.

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Cooperative profits are falling

Co-op profits fell sharply last year as Britain’s seventh-largest supermarket group faced fierce competition from discounters and record levels of shoplifting that drove up costs.

The 180-year-old group, which is owned by more than five million members, faces fierce competition from discounters Aldi and Lidl, and market leaders Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

According to researcher Kantar, the year 2023 ended with a market share in the supermarket sector of 5.4 percent, a decrease of 20 basis points compared to the previous year.

Co-op also pledged to invest millions of pounds to prevent price rises at the expense of profitability.

The company, which also has funeral, insurance and legal businesses, reported pre-tax profits of £28 million, compared with £268 million in the previous year.

The group’s turnover fell by £200 million to £11.3 billion, due to the divestment of its petrol stations in the second half of 2022.

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