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MARKET REPORT: M&G chief shrugs off bid talk as profits take a hit

Trust: M&G boss Andrea Rossi, who took over in October, said the group

The M&G boss has insisted the asset manager can fend for itself amid a flurry of takeover speculation.

Andrea Rossi, who took over in October, said the group “has what it takes” to thrive as a stand-alone business and “unleash profitable growth in the future”.

M&G has been the subject of frenzied takeover talks, with Australian investment bank Macquarie apparently among those exploring a potential bid.

Trust: M&G boss Andrea Rossi, who took over in October, said the group

Confidence: M&G boss Andrea Rossi, who took over in October, said the group ‘has what it takes’ to thrive as a stand-alone business and ‘unleash profitable growth in the future’

It came as M&G announced a profit of £529m for 2022, up from £721m the previous year.

But it was more than the £477million analysts expected.

Looking ahead, he hopes to save £200m by the end of 2025. The shares rose 0.3%, or 0.6p, to 217p.

Aviva was the Footsie’s biggest riser after promising to return cash to shareholders through windfall profits.

The FTSE 100 insurance and savings business posted a 35% rise in profits for 2022 to £2.2bn.

As a result, it will launch a £300m share buyback program tomorrow. Shareholders will also pocket a total dividend of 31p per share for 2022 compared to 22.05p the previous year.

It painted a stark contrast to Admiral (down 1%, or 20.5p, to 1982.5p), which cut its dividend payout by 40%, and Direct Line (down 0.3%, or 0.6p, to 175.3p) deleted altogether.

Aviva shares rose 2.7%, or 12.3p, to 462.4p.

Stock Watch – IQE

Semiconductor wafer maker IQE has warned that fewer customer orders will hit revenue this year.

The Cardiff-based group said lower demand led customers to reduce the amount of stock they were holding, meaning revenue for the first six months of 2023 is expected to be £30m lower. to those of the same period a year earlier.

Activity is expected to pick up in the second half of 2023, IQE added.

The shares fell 38%, or 17.75p, to 29p.

But in a move that will alarm customers, the insurer has warned that the price of its general insurance premiums will rise again this year as the cost of claims soar.

Profits at its general insurance division in the UK and Ireland fell 5% to £338m last year as the value of car insurance and weather claims soared.

The insurer’s latest share buyback program means it will have returned more than £5bn to shareholders since 2021. It has come under pressure from activist investor Cevian.

The FTSE 100 fell 0.6%, or 49.94 points, to 7879.98 and the FTSE 250 slipped 0.8%, or 159.07 points, to 19692.9.

Entain cashed bettors on the Winter Soccer World Cup. The gaming giant, which owns Ladbrokes and Coral, saw its active online customers hit an all-time high last year.

Its net gaming revenue rose 10% to £4.3bn in 2022, while profits fell to £102.9m. The shares fell 4.5%, or 63p, to 1329p.

At Page Group, candidate shortages and plentiful vacancies helped the recruitment firm post record profits for 2022.

But he said business in Greater China – mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan – took a hit in the second half of last year due to Covid lockdowns and restrictions. The shares fell 0.9%, or 4.2p, to 470p.

Informa has bought B2B Events Group Tarsus for £788m. The deal was announced as the exhibition organizer said revenue rose 43% to £2.2bn in 2022, while profits more than doubled.

It was boosted by China’s gradual reopening following strict Covid measures. The company said it expects live events to return there next year. The shares gained 2.6%, or 17.6p, to 697p.

AstraZeneca has received a boost after data showed that lung cancer patients who received its drug Imfinzi before and after surgery lived significantly longer without the disease progressing or recurring than those treated. by chemotherapy.

Shares rose 0.4%, or 44p, to 10,866p yesterday.

DS Smith, meanwhile, fell 4.8%, or 16.3p, to 326.8p after the packaging company reported lower cardboard box volumes since early November than during the same period 12 months earlier.

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