PRESS DIGEST – British business – May 15

The Times

NEED TO KNOW: TAYLOR WIMPEY

House builder Taylor Wimpey (TW.L: ), formed in 2007 after
Taylor Woodrow and George Wimpey merged, has appointed Serco’s
former boss as a non-executive chairman. Kevin Beeston will
replace Norman Askew with immediate effect when he leaves the
company on June 30.

NEED TO KNOW: UK COAL

Negotiations over a possible merger between UK Coal (UKC.L: )
and Harworth Services continue as UK Coal announces the closure
of its Mansfield deep mine. The company reported on Tuesday that
the last of the coal had been extracted from the Wellbeck
colliery. UK Coal continues to operate deep mines in the West
Midlands, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.

NEED TO KNOW: RENISHAW

Renishaw (RSW.L: ), the manufacturer of precision measuring
equipment used in engineering, dentistry and neuroscience, has
announced a 47 percent rise in nine-month pre-tax profits to
15.5 million pounds. The company’s success is attributed to cost
cutting and growth in the Far East. Renishaw is confident that a
growing order book will ensure the full year profit will remain
significantly ahead of the current market view.

NEED TO KNOW: COMPUTACENTER

Computer services provider Computacenter (CCC.L: ) has said
that revenue increased by eight percent during the first quarter
of 2010 and has continued that rate of growth as a rebound in
sales of technology products has boosted its performance
following a difficult 2009.

NEED TO KNOW: JOHN LEWIS

John Lewis [JLP.UL], the department store group, reported
that sales were 17.7 percent higher than a year earlier due to
the weather over the Bank Holiday weekend encouraging more
shoppers. Reports also showed that the Waitrose supermarket
business posted an increase of 12.3 percent as customers turned
to comfort food and sweet treats.

TIDDLER TO WATCH

All eyes were on Source BioScience (SBSC.L: ) as speculation
grew it was about to receive approval for testing the benefits
of Herceptin on NHS cancer patients. The drug is manufactured by
Roche of Switzerland. Source agreed a deal this year with
AstraZeneca to provide genetic tests for lung cancer. Source’s
shares closed the day unchanged at 7.5 pence.

The Daily Telegraph

LADBROKES SEES REVENUES SLIDE

Bookmaker Ladbrokes (LAD.L: ) reported that revenues fell six
percent during the first four months of 2010 due to customers
placing less cash bets. The total amount placed over the counter
fell by 10 percent year-on-year, with the bad weather during
January being blamed. Ladbrokes’ win margin was also lower when
compared to 12 months ago when bookies witnessed an increase in
profits due to favourable football odds and a 100-1 winner of
the Grand National. Chief executive Richard Glynn said the
economic environment remained “challenging”.

OBAMA CONSIDERS “NUCLEAR” OPTION IN TACKLING BP LEAK

President Barack Obama reiterated his “relentless” promise
to stop the Gulf of Mexico oil leak by dispatching a five-man
team of scientists, which includes a nuclear physicist who
worked on the original hydrogen bomb. Obama’s administration has
become increasingly frustrated with BP’s (BP.L: ) inability to
control the flow of oil following the sinking of the Deepwater
Horizon oil rig. The five-man team has been given a find
solutions remit. BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward spoke about
how a five-hour meeting had “come up with one good idea”, but
declined to indicate what that might be.

The Independent

ADMINISTRATORS SELL RAYMARINE

Raymarine, the marine electronics manufacturer, has been
sold to Flir (FLIR.O: ), the U.S. thermal imaging group, for 124
million pounds. Raymarine was placed into administration with
debts of nearly 100 million pounds. Administrators FTI said the
deal was the best option for shareholders, investors and
creditors. The deal pipped a last-minute offer from Garmin, the
U.S. sat-nav manufacturer, which offered 35 pence a share on the
condition the bid was approved by competition authorities. Under
the deal with Flir, shareholders can expect to receive 20 pence
a share before costs and claims from creditors.

The Guardian

RBS AWARDS 16 MILLION POUNDS OF SHARES TO TOP MANAGERS

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ) has cut the bonus
arrangements for chief executive Stephen Hester as a result of
shareholder disapproval. The total bonus package has been cut
from 400 percent of his 1.2 million pound salary to 350 percent.
The bank also issued 16 million pounds worth of shares to senior
executives that will vest in three years’ time provided
“financial and operational performance targets” are met. The
bank’s chairman, Sir Philip Hampton, said an important aspect of
pay for senior members of staff should reflect long-term
performance and a successful recovery and turnaround of the
group.

Stock Today

Prepared for Reuters by Durrants

PRESS DIGEST – British business – May 15