Shell avoids loss with strong trading, wipes $17 billion off assets

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) avoided its first quarterly loss in recent history, helped by a booming trading business, but announced nearly $17 billion in impairment charges reflecting a pessimistic outlook for oil and gas prices. Shell had warned last month it was set to slash the value of its oil and gas […]

Unilever: Ice cream in, personal hygiene out in lockdown

People working from home have been eating more ice cream but neglecting their grooming habits, consumer goods giant Unilever has suggested. The firm said ice cream sales leapt 26% in the three months to June, but demand for shampoo and deodorant fell. It said it had seen strong “growth in home consumption of foods, ice […]

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Rio Tinto increases production and shipments of iron ore in spite of coronavirus

The mining giant continued to operate at all its locations through the pandemic Rio Tinto PLC (LON:RIO) has reported increased production and shipments of iron ore in the second quarter despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic amid a strong price environment. Overall, production volumes were up 1% year-on-year on a copper equivalent basis, with Pilbara iron ore production […]

Asos to repay furlough cash as lockdown sales rise

Asos will repay cash to the government it claimed for furloughing workers after its sales grew in lockdown. The online retailer said that group sales increased by 10% to £1bn in the four months to 30 June. The rise was driven by shoppers in international markets, with sales in the UK dipping by 1%. It […]

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Britain’s Dixons Carphone profit falls, skips final dividend

July 15 (Reuters) – Electricals retailer Dixons Carphone said on Wednesday annual group profit halved due to underperformance of its mobile unit, while coronavirus-induced restrictions hit sales at its stores even as online sales rose. The UK-based group abandoned its final dividend for the year and also did not issue an outlook after its adjusted […]

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Smith & Nephew sales decline eases in June as more elective surgeries begin

Hip and knee reconstruction, sports injuries, and ENT businesses were hit hardest by the impact of the pandemic. Smith & Nephew PLC (LON:SN.) said sales have declined progressively less in May and June as coronavirus lockdowns were eased in most countries. Having already revealed that underlying revenue declined 47% in April, the hip and knee replacement specialist said […]

Britain’s lockdown drives Tesco’s sales and costs higher

LONDON (Reuters) – Tesco (TSCO.L), Britain’s biggest retailer, saw underlying UK sales rise 8.7% in its first quarter to May 30, boosted by the coronavirus lockdown, but reiterated a flat profit outlook due to the costs of the crisis. The supermarket group cautioned costs would be at the upper end of previous guidance and also […]

National Grid keeps dividend lights on despite coronavirus hit

There was a £117mln impact from coronavirus on earnings from increased provisions for US bad debts, with another £400mln expected to hit profits in the current year. National Grid PLC (LON:NG.) has increased its dividend despite profits falling as it takes a hit from increased bad debts from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in its US business.  The energy delivery […]

UK economy shrinks record 20.4% in April due to lockdown

The UK’s economy shrank by 20.4% in April – the largest monthly contraction on record – as the UK spent its first full month in lockdown. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the “historic” fall affected virtually all areas of activity. The contraction is three times greater than the decline seen during the whole of […]

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Johnson Matthey halves dividend and axes jobs as virus hits demand

LONDON (Reuters) – Chemicals maker Johnson Matthey (JMAT.L) halved its dividend on Thursday and said it would cut nearly a fifth of its workforce as the coronavirus pandemic hits demand for its car pollution filters. The company, one of Europe’s leading producers of autocatalysts, said the 2,500 layoffs, or 17% of its staff, were part […]