BUSINESS LIVE: Topps Tiles Fixes Delay; Hilton Food turnover almost £4 billion; Peel Hunt is heading for a loss

The FTSE 100 is down 0.2 percent in early trading. Companies with reports and trading updates today include Topps Tiles, Hilton Food Group, Peel Hunt and Wizz Air. Read the Business Live blog from Wednesday April 3 below.

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Shell challenges climate ruling: oil giant tries to overturn court order

Shell yesterday appealed against a historic climate ruling that ordered the energy giant to reduce CO2 emissions.

The oil and gas major argued that the order lacks a legal basis and weakens the fight against climate change.

Hilton Food: Improved financial position ensures expansion of management attention

Milo Bussell, associate consumer & media analyst at Edison Group:

“Hilton Food Group’s fiscal 2023 results showed robust sales performance, despite inflation.

‘Profitability received a significant boost as the recovery at Seafood was completed ahead of schedule.

‘The robust performance enabled a 7.7% increase in total dividend to 32.0p (FY22: 29.7p).

“Despite a continued challenging backdrop, management notes trading so far in 2024 is in line with expectations.

“Given the improvement in its financial position, management noted that it would explore greater geographic expansion or potential mergers and acquisitions, in addition to opportunities with existing partners.”

Tesla is in decline as sales fall for the first time in four years

More than £20 billion was wiped off Tesla’s value last night after Tesla reported its first fall in car sales in four years.

The US electric car maker, led by billionaire Elon Musk, delivered 386,810 vehicles in the three months to the end of March.

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Calvin Klein owner PVR shocked by a drop in turnover as fashion companies are hit by weak demand

Shares in the owners of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger fell 23 percent as weak demand hits the company.

PVH, which is listed in New York, warned of a 6 to 7 percent drop in sales this year after a slowdown in North America and Europe. That is comparable to an increase of 2 percent last year. It was also said that profits would be lower than hoped.

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Peel Hunt is heading for losses due to low trading volumes

Peel Hunt expects to post a loss for the full year as the brokerage suffers the impact of higher cost pressures and weaker trading volumes.

Turnover for the year is expected to be 4 per cent higher at £85.5m, largely driven by investment banking, with M&A income accounting for ‘a large proportion’ of fees.

Looking ahead, the report said headwinds are likely to persist ‘until there are meaningful signs of recovery in the UK economy and fund outflows reverse’.

It added: ‘However, we remain active in public mergers and acquisitions, with financial advisory mandates on both the buy and sell sides.

‘While IPO activity in Britain remains subdued, there is more activity in Europe and sentiment towards IPOs in Britain is improving, with investors increasingly willing to build relationships with high-quality companies.’

British manufacturers are recovering as the sector continues its first month of growth for almost two years

British manufacturers have continued their first month of growth for almost two years as the economy recovers.

In another sign that last year’s recession is well and truly over, S&P Global said its index of British factory activity rose to 50.3 in March from 47.5 in February.

It was the first lecture on the crucial level of 50 that separates growth and decline for twenty months.

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Hilton Food turnover almost £4 billion

FTSE 250 meat processing and packaging services Hilton Food Group saw sales of almost £4 billion last year as its core businesses continued to perform well and the seafood category returned to operational profitability.

Sales grew 3.9 percent to £3.99 billion, while volumes rose 0.7 percent, boosting statutory operating profit 59.4 percent to £86.1 million.

Boss Steve Murrells said:

‘Over the past year we have remained focused on executing our strategy, which has resulted in good performance in a challenging market. I am particularly pleased with the results in our seafood category, which is returning to full-year operating profitability after a successful turnaround.

“Our core meat category performed strongly and we have worked closely with customers to offer consumers the highest quality and most relevant food products.”

Royal Mail appoints ex-Heathrow chief executive Emma Gilthorpe as new boss after stamp price hike for third time in a year

Royal Mail has appointed a senior Heathrow executive as its new boss, just as Royal Mail increases the price of stamps for the third time in a year.

Emma Gilthorpe, the airport’s chief operating officer, will join the delivery group on May 1, parent company International Distribution Services (IDS) said.

She will then take over the company’s Royal Mail arm in the summer.

Gilthorpe succeeds interim boss Martin Seidenberg.

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Repairs have been delayed at Topps Tiles

Topps Tiles has warned that weak demand in the domestic repair and maintenance sector will continue into 2024, especially on high-end items, with profits hit by lower volumes this year.

The FTSE 250 group said: ‘The group’s profitability in the first half of the year will be affected by a number of factors, including the weaker market, the timing of holiday pay accruals and seasonally higher energy consumption in the period. We continue to expect the Group’s 2024 earnings to be weighted to the second half, as indicated in our Q1 trading update.”