Updates from Bovis, Amlin and Heineken
The FTSE 100 inched up 17 points to 5,852 points on Friday. Lloyds was the biggest riser, up +3.74% while Anglo American bore the worst sell-off, down -47 points.
Overnight in Asia the Japanese Nikkei has taken a hit after being impacted by mining resource sentiment; Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell -0.73% today.
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We start with strong numbers from Bovis Homes. Pre-tax profits have soared to £16.2m from £8.1m in the last six months while revenues increased 27% to £170.3m. The Bovis dividend per share doubles to 3.0p from 1.5p for the first half of the year.
There were legal completions of 944 homes (H1 2011: 801 homes), an increase of 18% with an average sales price of £164,400 (H1 2011: £163,400). Terms have been agreed in principle to acquire a further 20 sites, representing in excess of 3,000 plots Bovis says.
"As a result of a greater number of active sales outlets," says Bovis boss David Ritchie, "with an increasing proportion of new, more profitable sites, the Group's profits will, subject to stable market conditions, continue to increase significantly in the second half of 2012, in line with the Group's expectations."
Next, insurer Amlin. Pre-tax profits for the last six months climb to £184.5m compared to a £192.3m loss this time last year. Gross written premiums climbed 19.8% at £1.8bn and there is no material movement in prior year catastrophe claims, says the insurer.
There's a first half return on equity of 11.9% (H1 2011: (8.8)%), 23.8% annualised while the interim dividend climbs 4.2% to 7.5 pence per share (H1 2011: 7.2 pence per share).
"This is a welcome return to profit," says CEO Charles Philipps, "and the strength of our underwriting result underlines the quality and diversity of our business. The improving trading environment is creating many opportunities for profitable growth, for which we have both the capital and the underwriting capability to take advantage."
Finally, Heineken is set to take control of Tiger beer in a deal with $4.5bn. Singapore conglomerate Fraser and Neave will recommend to shareholders Heineken's offer of Singapore $53 a share.
The offer puts an end to a tough, complex fight for Heineken who wants control of the Tiger Beer maker, Asia Pacific Breweries (APB), giving the Dutch brewer increased exposure to Asian markets.
Heineken already owns nearly 42% of ABP. When sealed, the deal will give Heineken an 81% controlling stake in the company.