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LONDON MARKET PRE-OPEN: Mitie Sells Catering Unit For GBP85 Million

(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London are seen opening higher on Monday, as investors look ...

Alliance News 19 August, 2019 | 7:38AM
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(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London are seen opening higher on Monday, as investors look ahead to the US Federal Reserve's Jackson Hole Symposium later in the week.

IG futures indicate the FTSE 100 index is to open 41.64 points higher at 7,159.10. The blue chip index closed 50.25 points higher, or 0.7%, at 7,117.46 on Friday.

In company news, outsourcer Mitie Group sold its hospitality business for GBP85 million, property firm LondonMetric Property bought a warehouse for GBP24 million and wound dressings maker ConvaTec appointed a new chair.

Ahead this week, the US Federal Reserve annual Jackson Hole Symposium gets underway in Wyoming on Thursday, with Chair Jerome Powell scheduled to speak on Friday.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "This week all eyes are expected to be back on the US Federal Reserve, and the Jackson Hole annual symposium, especially since the latest US economic data show little signs of a sharp slowdown, despite markets pricing in the prospect of a 50-basis point rate cut next month. This divergence in expectations is likely to be tested significantly in the coming days.

"Investors are still trying to juggle the same cocktail of risks of US, China trade, the prospect of an escalation of tensions in Hong Kong, a slowing global economy, Brexit, political uncertainty in Italy, and tensions between the US and Iran, which has helped push money out of stocks and into havens like gold, the Swiss franc and government bonds, and in the process introduced a significant increase in market volatility over the last two weeks."

ConvaTec Group said it has appointed John McAdam as chair of the wound dressings maker, with effect from September 30. McAdam is former chair of pest control maker Rentokil Initial. The company said Rick Anderson will step down from his current role interim chair to resume his role as a non-executive director.

Safestore Holdings said it has formed a joint venture with Carlyle European Real Estate Fund to enter the Dutch self storage market. Safestore said it is to invest in a 20% equity stake on completion for a consideration of EUR5 million and to provide management services to the joint venture. Completion is anticipated to take place by the end of August 2019 and the company expects to earn an initial return on investment of 8% before transaction related costs for the first full year.

Separately, the self-storage firm said has completed the acquisition of a 34,000 square foot freehold store located near Heathrow Airport for GBP6.5 million.

Outsourcer Mitie Group said it is to sell its Mitie Catering business to CH&CO for up to GBP85 million in cash. As part of the deal, Mitie and CH&CO will enter into a strategic partnership so that the existing "Gather & Gather" catering offer remains exclusive to Mitie's clients as its only Integrated Facilities Management sector partner.

Mitie said the sale is part of the company's strategy of focusing and simplifying operations. The proceeds of the sale will be used to further strengthen Mitie's balance sheet and reinvest in the core business.

Property investor LondonMetric Property said it has agreed to purchase and fund a new 232,000 square foot distribution warehouse for GBP24.0 million, reflecting a yield on cost of 5.2%. The company said the new warehouse is pre-let to FTSE 100-listed chemicals firm Croda International on a 20-year lease, at a rent of GBP1.3 million per year.

The Japanese Nikkei 225 index closed up 0.7%. In China, the Shanghai Composite is up 1.5%%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is up 2.1%.

The pound was quoted at USD1.2170 early Monday, compared to USD1.2147 at the London equities close Friday.

The price of new properties on the market declined to a lesser extent than usual in August, the Rightmove Monthly Housing Price index showed Monday, pushing the annual rate to a nearly one-year high.

The price of newly marketed property fell by an average of 1.0% in August, Rightmove showed, as new-to-the-market sellers at this time of year tend to have a more pressing need to sell, and price more cheaply to attract holiday-distracted buyers.

Still to come in the economic calendar in Europe is eurozone inflation data at 1000 BST.

By Arvind Bhunjun; arvindbhunjun@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2019 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Croda International PLC 4,848.00 GBX -0.86
LondonMetric Property PLC 213.80 GBX 0.94 -
ConvaTec Group PLC 177.70 GBX 0.00
MITIE Group PLC 157.60 GBX -0.19 -
Safestore Holdings PLC 664.50 GBX 0.83 -

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