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Standard Life Admits to Merger Talks.

Standard Life SL has been forced by press speculation to confirm that it is discussing a potential all share merger with the board of Aberdeen Asset Management and under which, if the merger proceeded, Standard Life would own 66.7% of the Combined Group.

Ultra Electronics ULE is looking forward to a return to growth in defence spending in 2017 after 2016 saw revenue up by 8.2%, underlying profit before tax rising by 6.9% and underlying earnings per share up by 8.6%. New order intake was robust with a rise of 22% after allowing for foreign exchange movements, acquisitions and disposals. Ultra is largely sheltered from the effects of Brexit with only 7% of exports going to Europe from the UK.

Plant Impact PIM The weakness of sterling against the dollar was the main factor behind  growth in both revenue and gross profit in the six months to the end of January. Growth in revenue was 17% and gross profit was up by 18% so no doubt the company is hoping that that the pounds troubles will continue in the second half, which will see the launch of Fortalis in the US, as well as sales of Veritas to Brazil which in previous years have been limited to the first half only.

ABCAM plc ABC is increasing its interim dividend by 20% after continuing to achieve its annual goals. Reported revenue for the half year to 31st December rose by 30.4%, helped by the weakness of sterling, without which it would have been only 10%. Reported profit before tax rose by some 25% and adjusted diluted earnings per share were up by 33.4%. Abcam claims it is becoming the most influential life science company for researchers worldwide. 

Informa plc INF  enjoyed a strong and steady year in 2016, its third consecutive year of growth in revenue and adjusted earnings per share. Statutory operating profit, which the company does not regard as a key financial measure, fell from £236m to £198m and the final dividend is increased by 4.3%. Revenue growth came in at 11% but on a like for like basis it was down to 1.6%. The weakness of sterling  and strong performances by acquisitions are both given credit for their contributions to growth.

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