Market report: Struggling Greencore in share placing

What happened to the FTSE, pound and UK companies on the markets today?

Sandwich maker Greencore has announced a share placing to raise £90m, as it aims to add liquidity in the wake of hammered financials reported after market close on Monday.

Greencore faced a “significant demand reduction” in food-to-go categories through the full year 2020, as the UK battled with multiple coronavirus restrictions. Revenue in those categories was 53pc below prior year levels in the third, and worst hit quarter.

Full-year sales dropped 12.5pc to £1.26bn compared to the year before, alongside a pre-tax loss of £10.8m, against a £56m profit in 2019.

Patrick Coveney, chief executive, said: “There is a direct correlation between the performance of food to go and the nation’s ability to move around freely. As a result, that part of our business has been significantly impacted by the social restrictions.”

“We remain confident that demand for our food to go categories will recover strongly as the effect of Covid-19 recedes, and were encouraged by the uplift in demand that we saw in Q4 as the UK economy slowly reopened.”

The shares are down about 55pc this year.

London’s blue-chip index remained stubbornly flat on Monday, despite new vaccine hopes, ending moderately lower.

The tone was set by AstraZeneca’s early-morning announcement of highly anticipated results from the trial of its prospective Covid-19 vaccine, which the pharma group has been developing in conjunction with University of Oxford researchers.

Astra’s results – which showed the vaccine stopped an average of 70pc of patients from getting sick – received a mixed reaction from analysts, prompting the group’s share price to fall 317p to £80.

Some of the pandemics biggest losers found a place among the day’s top risers however.

Airline engine maker Rolls-Royce led risers, climbing 7.6p to 107p, while British Airways-owner IAG was close behind, rising 8.7p to 166.5p. Royal Dutch Shell, which has rallied over recent weeks closed up 56p at £12.52.

Aviva rose 6.6p to 324.6p after the insurer said it is to sell its 80pc stake in Italian life insurer Aviva Vita to UBI Banca, its joint venture partner, for €400m (£355m) in cash.

But London Stock Exchange Group shares dropped 250p to £78.84 after the European Commission extended its review of the company’s takeover of data giant Refinitiv by four days. The new deadline is Jan 21.

On the FTSE 250, the most significant mover was Cineworld which rose 9.2p to 55.3p after being thrown a debt lifeline by its lenders.

Precious metal miners dropped as the gold price continued to unravel from August’s highs. Polymetal led fallers on the FTSE 100, dropping 87.5p to £15.95, while Fresnillo, Centamin and Hochschild all also fell.