(Reuters) – Britain’s Wetherspoon priced its sale of 93.7 million pounds ($127.92 million) worth of new shares at the top end of its expected range on Wednesday, a signal of confidence from investors that pushed the pub operator’s shares 3% higher in morning trade.
The cheap beer specialist said 8.4 million new shares had been placed at 1,120 pence per share – a discount of over 5% to Tuesday’s closing price, but the proceeds raised were at the top of the range it had given when announcing the offer a day earlier.
“We like Wetherspoon’s relentless consumer focus, employee engagement, largely freehold estate and history of evolution. This profile should allow JDW to fast return to its former profitability,” Jefferies analysts said.
Following strict COVID-19 led curbs in December, England went into its third national lockdown earlier this month.
The pandemic-hit hospitality industry has laid off thousands of workers, with Wetherspoon cutting jobs at its head office and airport pubs.
The company said on Tuesday it expects pubs to remain shut until March and that the fresh funds would provide enough liquidity to deal with very low sales after reopening.
It is also considering buying properties in central London, freehold reversions of pubs of where it is currently the tenant, and properties close to successful pubs in an effort to cash in on declining property prices.
“It has a young customer base who have been less fearful of venturing out when restrictions do ease, which does bode well for recovery unless there is another twist in the trajectory of the virus,” Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter said.
Wetherspoon, which has seen no sales since shutting all its pubs from Dec. 31, had expected the placing to raise between 92.1 million pounds and 93.7 million pounds.
($1 = 0.7325 pounds)
(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Shailesh Kuber)
Thomson Reuters fourth-quarter revenue, adjusted earnings rise
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Thomson Reuters Corp reported higher fourth-quarter revenue on Tuesday and said it would start a two-year program that will change it from a holding company to an operating company.
The news and information company, which owns Reuters News, said revenues rose 2% to $1.62 billion, while its operating profit jumped more than 300% to $956 million, reflecting the sale of an investment, a gain from an amendment to pension plan and lower costs.
Its three main divisions, Legal Professionals, Tax & Accounting Professionals and Corporates, all showed higher organic quarterly sales and adjusted profit.
It was not immediately clear if adjusted earnings per share of 54 cents were directly comparable to the 46 cents expected.
Thomson Reuters’ markets are healthy and evolving, making this a good time to transition the company from a content provider to a “content-driven technology company,” Chief Executive Steve Hasker said in a statement.
Workplaces have been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic and artificial intelligence has a larger role in professional markets, he said.
(Writing by Nick Zieminski in New York, editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman)
Tesla shares set to skid into the red for the year
LONDON (Reuters) – Shares in Tesla were set to plunge into the red for the year on Tuesday, hit by a broad selloff of high-flying technology stocks and the fall of bitcoin, in which the electric carmaker recently invested $1.5 billion.
By 1029 GMT, Tesla was down over 8% in U.S. premarket deals after a similar drop during the previous session. The firm led by Elon Musk has had a stellar ride since 2020, which it began at about $85 per share, before reaching the $900 mark on January 25.
Currently trading at about $657 in pre market transactions, the stock has lost 27% from its peak, which is above the 20% level which technically defines a bear market.
Bitcoin has also swung into a bear market, falling from a peak of $58,354 on February 21 to a low of $45,000 earlier on Tuesday.
A Germany-based trader said he was “taking chips off the table” on Tesla as its 1.5 billion investment in the cryptocurrency could “backfire now”.
Analysts at Barclays noted that there has been a drop of conversations about the electric car makers in the Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum, which could explain some of the loss of appetite for the stock.
“With only 2-3 total submissions on each of the past several days, we remain below the trend in attention that has come along with big returns jumps in the past”, the analysts said in note.
Other analysts have also cautioned against investing in the stock which remains one of the most expensive on the S&P 500 index at 163 times its 12 month forward earnings.
Graphic: Tesla shares selloff after multi-fold gains
(Reporting by Julien Ponthus and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)
H&M, IKEA and Stora Enso backed TreeToTextile builds sustainable fibre demo plant
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – A venture part-owned by Finnish forestry group Stora Enso, Sweden’s H&M and IKEA said on Tuesday it was set to build a demonstration plant in Sweden for a new, more sustainable wood-based textile fibre after years of research.
To markedly reduce their climate footprint and pollution, large apparel and furniture brands are in dire need of affordable greener alternatives to cotton, traditional viscose and polyester. Several Nordic pulp makers are part of projects developing new clean ways https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nordics-forestry-idCAKCN0WF076 to turn trees into textile fibre.
TreeToTextile said in a statement its plant would have a production capacity of 1,500 tonnes and its owners would fund the bulk of the 35 million euro ($42.6 million) investment.
“The novel process is deliberately designed to have low energy demand and low chemical need. It is engineered to suit large scale production and includes a recovery systemfor reusing chemicals,” it said.
“By investing in a demonstration plant, we are finally on the go. With it we are turning years of R&D into reality to increase the biobased share on the textile market to support climate action.”
TreeToTextile, whose fourth part-owner is innovator Lars Stigsson, said the plant would be located at Stora Enso’s Nymolla mill in Sweden, and its construction would start in the near future.
Viscose is the main existing textile fibre from wood pulp – followed by the newer lyocell which has a cleaner manufacturing method. Production is dominated by Austria’s Lenzing, India’s Aditya Birla and China’s Sateri.
($1 = 0.82 euros)
(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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