It’s fair to say that Christmas has proved to be a rather mixed bag for many retailers, but there’s some good news from Dixons Carphone this morning. The company has provided trading figures for the 10 weeks to January 6th, which show a strong performance in mobile phone sales, helped along by the iPhone X launch, whilst like for like revenues for the year are up 6%. However, margins are being squeezed as the company battles for market share and this is going to trim profit expectations a little. The risk is the outlook for consumers darkens significantly, but with operations diversified across Europe, this is far from being just a UK play.
The Blockchain phenomenon continues, with news this morning that micro-cap Stapleton Capital, worth just over £2 million, has decided to rebrand as Blockchain Worldwide plc. The company, formed to acquire other businesses in the telecoms sector, claims to have identified a number of blockchain investment opportunities, which validates the change of name. Others who have followed this rebranding path have seen a marked jump in their share price – is the market going to show it has now had its fill of this trick?
GKN, the manufacturer of parts for cars and aircraft, is currently the subject of a hostile acquisition bid from Melrose Industries. GKN doesn’t want this – at least not at the current price – but if Melrose can gain sufficient support amongst shareholders, company rules state there’s nothing the board of directors at GKN can do. So it’s no surprise to see a push of good news in an attempt to convince shareholders that the offer is too cheap and with that comes this morning’s announcement that the company’s order book for electric car technology has hit £2 billion. GKN is working with manufacturers like Porsche and Volvo to power their next generation of cars, but this sort of statement is a classic when it comes to trying to fend off am unwanted takeover.