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MARKET REPORT: Telecom Plus rockets as families seek to cut bills

Bundled bills: Telecom Plus said the number of customers increased by 86,004 in the six months to the end of September

Telecom Plus brought some joy to the stock market as record numbers of households flocked to its Utility Warehouse website to save money on bills.

The FTSE 250 company, which offers discounts by bundling a range of services such as gas, electricity, mobile, broadband and insurance into one bill, said customer numbers had increased by 86,004 in the six months to the end of September.

This brought his total book count to 814,684 and was a major milestone in his goal of adding 1 million customers over the next four to five years.

Bundled bills: Telecom Plus said the number of customers increased by 86,004 in the six months to the end of September

Bundled bills: Telecom Plus said the number of customers increased by 86,004 in the six months to the end of September

The company said it now expects profit for the year to be “significantly above current market expectations” of £75m. Shares jumped 24%, or 414p, to 2140p.

“At a time when cost-of-living pressures continue to mount, we are uniquely positioned to provide households with what they need more than ever: savings on essential bills and additional income by recommending these savings. to their friends and family,” co-chief executives Andrew Lindsay and Stuart Burnett said.

The broader stock market started the final quarter of the year in a cautious mood amid growing fears of a global recession.

After falling for three consecutive quarters so far in 2022, the FTSE 100 index climbed 0.22%, or 14.95 points, to 6908.76. It was a similar story among mid caps with the FTSE 250 up 0.68%, or 116.54 points, at 17,284.88.

Oil inventories were up after the price of crude fell back towards $90 a barrel.

BP gained 2.2%, or 9.6p, to 442.7p and Shell rose 2.4%, or 53p, to 2,299.5p. Homebuilders were also on the move hoping that interest rates would not rise as far as feared.

Stock Watch – Mexican Tortilla Grill

Shares of Tortilla Mexican Grill slumped after warning of soaring costs.

The restaurant group said it would take a £1.8m hit from a 40% rise in the price of meat, while rising utility bills would cost it £500,000.

The slowdown in summer sales also took its toll with train strikes and the heat wave resulting in an estimated loss of sales of £250,000.

It posted half-year profit before tax of £300,000, down from £2.6million a year ago.

The shares plunged 33.3%, or 48.6p, to 97.4p.

Barratt Developments rose 3.5%, or 12p, to 354.2p, Persimmon rose 3.2%, or 39.5p, to 1,277p and Taylor Wimpey edged up 2.4%, or 2.12p , at 90.42p.

The sector has been hammered in recent days as investors worried about the impact more expensive mortgages would have on demand for homes and prices.

It was another tough session for travel stocks amid fears that a global recession could hurt holiday demand as families rein in spending.

British Airways owner IAG fell 1.1%, or 1.01p, to 93.66p in the top flight. Among mid-caps, Wizz Air plunged 3.7%, or 58.5p, to 1,526p, cruise line Carnival was down 7.4%, or 43.2p, to 538.6p, Easyjet sank 2 .9%, or 8.6p, to 287.8p and Tui slipped 2.5%, or 2.7p, to 105.45p.

The FTSE 250 Essentra components business rose 15.3%, or 27.9p, to 210.5p after selling its filters business to Centaury Management in a £262.1m deal and finalized the sale of its packaging branch to Mayr-Melnhof.

Essentra plans to return £150 million to shareholders via a special dividend. The company also announced that Paul Forman will step down as chief executive at the end of this year. He will be replaced by Scott Fawcett, general manager of Essentra’s components division.

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has come close to taking full control of AIM-listed online fashion company MySale.

Frasers – which owns Sports Direct, House of Fraser and Evans Cycles – has offered 2p per share for the company.

This pitted Ashley against arch-rival Sir Philip Green, who is MySale’s second largest shareholder behind Frasers. Frasers said he effectively holds a 50.1% stake in MySale after receiving support from a number of shareholders.

“MySale shareholders who have not yet accepted the offer are urged to do so as soon as possible,” Frasers added.

MySale shares were flat at 2.01p yesterday and Frasers fell 0.2%, or 1.5p, to 676.5p.

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