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What to watch: IHG's $300m hotel deal, Heineken's sales rocket, and Countrywide's profits half

Yahoo! Finance UK logo Yahoo! Finance UK 13/02/2019 Oscar Williams-Grut
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Here are the top business, market and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:

Ne-Yo standing next to a car: What to watch: IHG's $300m hotel deal, Heineken's sales rocket, and Countrywide's profits half What to watch: IHG's $300m hotel deal, Heineken's sales rocket, and Countrywide's profits half

IHG’s $300m hotel deal

InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG.L) is buying Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas for $300m. 

IHG said on Wednesday that the deal for the luxury hotel and spa operator would “extend IHG’s reach to a community of affluent travellers… and provides instant entry to some of the world’s most sought-after locations.”

Six Senses operates 16 hotels and resorts in locations like the Maldives, the Seychelles, Yao Noi in Thailand, Zighy Bay in Oman, and Portugal’s Douro Valley.

Keith Barr, CEO of IHG, said: “Six Senses’ attractive development pipeline provides us with a platform for high quality growth. With the power of the IHG enterprise, we believe we can expand Six Senses to more than 60 properties globally over the next decade.”

IHG shares were up 0.2%.

Heineken’s sales rocket

Sales of Heineken (HEIA.AS) beer grew at their fastest rate in a decade last year, the brewery giant said on Wednesday.

Sales of Heineken grew by 7.7%, helped by the launch of its new non-alcoholic beer Heineken 0.0.

The strong performance of its flagship brand helped Heineken, which also owns brands such as Amstel, Strongbow, and Sol, beat analysts forecasts with its full-year results.

Revenue rose by 3.7% to €26.8bn and beer volume rose by 4.2%, helped by strong sales of premium beer in emerging markets. Profit dipped by 1.6% to €1.9bn.

Jean-François van Boxmeer, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO, said: “Going into 2019, we expect the environment to remain uncertain and volatile.”

Heineken shares were up by 4.2% in Amsterdam.

Countrywide’s profits half

Estate agency Countrywide (CWD.L) said underlying earnings nearly halved to £33m in 2018 due to a “challenging” market.

In a full-year trading update, the group said total income dropped by 7% and the company took a £2m write down on assets.

Countrywide said: “We are encouraged by the progress we have made in our strategy and turnaround plan and in the growth in the register and the pipeline in the UK.

“Nevertheless, we remain cautious about the market outlook for 2019 and continue to closely monitor market conditions for any potential impact arising from the wider political and economic environment.”

Countrywide shares were up by 1.3%.

New Look returns to profit

Fashion retailer New Look swung to an underlying operating profit of £38.5m for the first nine months of its year after seeing recent sales improve.

The earnings compare with losses of £5.1m a year earlier. The chain said like-for-like brand sales fell by 2.3% over the 39 weeks to December 22, although UK comparable sales lifted by 0.9% over it third quarter.

Alistair McGeorge, executive chairman of New Look, said: “Today’s results show that we continue to make good progress in delivering improved operational and financial stability despite the challenging retail environment.

“However, we have more work to do and our focus is now on accelerating our turnaround plans. Central to this is finalising our financial restructuring, which will secure the future and long-term profitability of the company.”

Dunelm stockpiling for Brexit

Dunelm (DNLM.L) has started stockpiling products due to continued Brexit uncertainty, the homeware retailer said on Wednesday.

The firm has started to purchase “incremental stock of some best-selling lines and securing additional supply chain capacity” to guard against potential disruption at “deep-sea” ports following Brexit. Dunelm imports less than 1% of its goods from EU countries.

The announcement came as the furniture and soft furnishings retailer reported a 24% rise in pre-tax profits to £70m in the six months to December 29. Revenue grew by 1.2% to £551.8m.

Dunelm shares were up over 3%.

European markets

European stock markets and Asian markets were both buoyed by US-China trade talk optimism on Wednesday.

Britain’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was up by 0.4%, Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) was up by 0.5%, France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) was 0.3% higher, and the Euronext 100 (^N100) was up by 0.3%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 (^N225) closed up by 1.3%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index (^HSI) was 1.1% higher, and China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) was up by 1.8%.

What to expect in the US

US stock futures were pointing to a slightly higher open. S&P 500 futures (ES=F) were up by 0.2%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F) were 0.3% higher, and Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were up by 0.4%. The VIX volatility-tracking index (^VIX) was down by 3.1%.

Companies reporting later in the US include:

  • Build-A-Bear Workshop (BBW)
  • AllianceBernstein (AB)
  • CenturyLink (CTL)
  • Cisco (CSCO)
  • Hyatt Hotels (H)
  • DISH Network (DISH)
  • Fidelity (FNF)
  • Paramount (PGRE)
  • Hilton Hotels (HLT)
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (WH)
  • Yelp (YELP)
  • MGM Resorts (MGM)

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