Famous five of business this week (November 15-19)

Monday – November 15

1.      Premier Foods Plc (LON: PFD)

Premier Foods, the owner of Bisto, Angel Delight and Mr Kipling, reported a decline in sales despite successfully navigating the supply chain issues. Its sales for the six months ended 2 October 2021 fell by 6.5% year-on-year to £394.1 million, while pre-tax profits declined by 39.2% to £30.7 million. However, these figures rose by 7.5% and 105%, respectively compared to the same period in 2019. However, with rising inflation, the group will be making some changes that would be effective in the financial results for the second half of the financial year.

Tuesday – November 16

  1. AstraZeneca Plc (LON: AZN)

AstraZeneca, a UK-based drug manufacturing giant, reported production of two billion doses of the COVID vaccine, despite criticism from EU leaders regarding its manufacturing and supply process. The company features second to only China’s indigenous Sinovac vaccine. AstraZeneca’s vaccine was developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford, and is manufactured in 15 countries, the largest geographical COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing footprint. Last week, AstraZeneca also announced that it will start taking profits from the COVID-19 vaccine, as coronavirus was becoming endemic.

Wednesday – November 17

  1. SSE Plc (LON: SSE)

SSE, a UK-based energy giant, rejected an activist investor offer to split the company. The company pledged to invest £12.5 billion through 2026 to fund the shift to renewable energy. SSE has more than doubled the capital resources allocated to renewable resources, with an additional amount of £1 billion being dedicated for each year of the investment initiative. The programme is expected to make SSE the global leader in terms of constructors of offshore wind turbines and improve the company’s renewable energy production by four gigawatts (GW). SSE also announced plans to deliver 25% of the UK’s targeted 40GW of offshore wind power by 2030.

Thursday – November 18

  1. PlayTech Plc (LON: PTEC)

Eddie Jordan, the ex-Formula One (F1) team-owner, is part of a consortium planning a £3 billion- counterbid for Playtech, a gambling and financial trading company. Jordan’s firm is working with an equity firm to finance the takeover of the LSE listed company. If the deal goes through, the consortium's bid would be structured partly in cash and contingent value rights (CVRs) based on Playtech's stake in a joint venture with Caliente, a Mexico-based gambling business. Global Leisure Partners is offering its advisory services to the consortium.

Friday – November 19

5.      Unilever Plc (LON: ULVR)

Unilever, a leading UK-based consumer giant, announced the sale of its tea business which includes PG Tips and Brooke Bond brands, to CVC Capital Partners, a Europe-based private equity company. The deal was valued at £3.8 billion (€4.5 billion). The company intended to sell its tea business back in 2020, as the number of traditional tea drinkers were declining, and the younger consumers preferred fashionable herbal teas and coffee. The company’s tea business, known as Ekaterra, reported sales of €2 billion last year.

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