Retail round up - The Sunday papers
HMV in profit but will it cut dividend, EU to ban selling eggs by dozen,Hut Group prepares to float on back of VAT loophole,Berkshire Shooting School bagged by ex-pat, City hesitates over Ocado price...
The Sunday Telegraph
HMV is expected to post pre-tax profits of £74m in its full-year results on Wednesday, as the company's new management tries to turn the retailer around amid a challenging market backdrop. Analysts will be keenly watching the dividend announcement after management said in April that the company will be able to make the payment. The market, however, remains sceptical.
Shoppers will be banned from buying bread rolls or eggs by the dozen under new food labelling regulations proposed by the European parliament.Under the draft legislation, to come into force as early as next year, the sale of groceries using the simple measurement of numbers will be replaced by an EU-wide system based on weight.It would mean an end to packaging descriptions such as eggs by the dozen, four-packs of apples, six bread rolls or boxes of 12 fish fingers.
The Sunday Times
Investment bankers' fees for advising on the internet grocer's flotation are expected to reach £15m.Investment bankers will bag up to £15m in fees for advising on the £1 billion flotation of Ocado, the internet grocer.The lion’s share will be collected by Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Cazenove and UBS, with the remainder being split between Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, Numis and Jefferies.The fees will be eagerly welcomed by the investment bankers, who have suffered from a drought in stock market flotations and takeovers during the past two years.
The Hut Group, the fast-growing firm behind controversial VAT-free CD and DVD internet sales for Asda, WHSmith, Dixons, Argos and Woolworths, has begun rapidly expanding into other product areas – including cheap handbags, jewellery, novelty gifts, sun cream and underwear – as it builds towards a stock market flotation early next year.New websites gifted.com, mybag.co.uk and washbag.com have been launched in the past three months. The move is a bold departure for the Cheshire-based business, which has grown into Britain's third-largest online DVD and CD retailer in the six years since it was set up by Matthew Moulding and John Gallemore, former executives within John Caudwell's mobile phone empire.
The Independent on Sunday
Royal Berkshire Shooting School, the country sports and clothing group, has been sold in a deal thought to be worth more than £10m.Alexander Newman, 52, a Chile-based Briton, has bought the group in what promises to be the first of a number of deals likely to be done by the ex-patriate.The sale of the school, famed for employing Kate Middleton, the girlfriend of Prince William, has netted the company's majority shareholder, Bryan Richmond-Dodd, and Dylan Williams, who runs the school, millions of pounds.
Investors have balked at the likely list price of Ocado, which is looking to raise £400m in a stock market flotation.Leading institutions said that the float was likely to fail if Ocado's founders, a group of former Goldman Sachs bankers who are set to scoop as much as £150m from any flotation, are not prepared to lower the price."One billion quid for a company that has never made any money? We've seen this before," said one fund manager. "We won't be touching it and my peers at other fund management groups feel the same." Another manager said: "It's simply too expensive. There has to be a reality check or else there is a real chance it could fail, although press reports tell me otherwise."
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