11 Nov 08. The subscription period for Italian defence and aerospace company Finmeccanica’s (SIFI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) rights share offer ended on Tuesday with an uptake of 98.26 percent, it said on Tuesday. Finmeccanica, which made the share issue to help finance its $4bn takeover of DRS Technologies Inc DRS.N, said 417,369,675 rights were exercised, with a total of 150,253,083 new ordinary shares subscribed for, for an aggregate subscription price of €1.2bn ($1.53bn). “The result of the capital increase allows us to maintain our financial solidity and strong balance sheet, and to continue with our industrial and commercial strategy,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Pier Francesco Guarguaglini in a statement. (Source: Google)
12 Nov 08. Babcock International’s chief executive predicted its nuclear business could double in size over the next five years as the support services group reported a 30 per cent increase in first-half profit. Peter Rogers said the group, which refuels the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines and provides technical expertise in handling fuel for nuclear reactors, was in discussions on several fronts about securing a role on upcoming work for decommissioning and new-build. “Five years from now, we are talking big design time on a new generation of stations, so you could see our current business double,” said Mr Rogers. He added that Babcock had a “nuclear pedigree which others don’t come close to”. Its nuclear business generated revenues of £54.4m ($83.8) in the past six months, up 50 per cent. Babcock reported pre-tax profits for the six months to September 30 up 30 per cent to £50.9m on revenues that rose 40 per cent to £940.6m. It reported underlying organic revenue growth of 15 per cent and the order book increased 55 per cent to £5bn. Babcock’s marine business reported operating profit up 45 per cent to £42.2m. The company’s rail division, however, reported an operating loss of £4.7m due to a number of underperforming contracts and Mr Roger said its projects business would be wound up. Babcock is trying to reduce the volatility in its pension schemes through bulk annuity purchases and the structuring of various liability hedging instruments. Mr Rogers, who bought 25,000 shares yesterday at 412p, said the company was well-placed in the current environment given its reliance on credit-worthy customers. The interim dividend is being increased 21 per cent to 4p and Babcock’s shares rose 14¼p to 418¼p. (Source: FT.com)
12 Nov 08. VT Group said its long-term future lay in support services as it revealed robust interim results and highlighted its option to sell its naval shipbuilding operations to BAE Systems for £300m from next summer. Paul Lester, chief executive, said that under the terms of the companies’ joint venture, VT had from next July the right to exercise a put option that would see BAE buy out its 45 per cent stake. Any proceeds would be used to expand VT’s services business in the UK and the US, which ranges from military support contracts to managing specialist emergency fleets. “The services business is our long-term future…We see the shipbuilding operations much more as a generator of cash,” Mr Lester said. Pre-tax profit in the six months to September 30 nearly quadrupled to £131.4m, largely because of an exceptional accounting gain. Underlying profits rose 13 per cent to £48m. Revenues excluding joint ventures rose 9 per cent to £538.4m. The total order book rose to £6.1bn. Underlying profit at VT’s support services businesses rose 28 per cent to £18.5m. BVT Surface Fleet, the shipbuilding venture with BAE, contributed turnover of £199.8m. Mr Lester said VT was in talks with nuclear operators British Energy and France’s EDF about providing technical services for decommissioning work.
The interim dividend rose 10 per cent to 3.9p a share. Earnings per share increased from 16p to 70.3p. The shares fell 19p to 539½p.
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