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(Bloomberg) — This morning’s flood of corporate updates bestows a sense of optimism on London-listed firms, with outlook upgrades in several industries ranging from consumer products to defense and healthcare. Haleon beat expectations and raised its full-year guidance, as consumers stock up on over-the-counter brands such as Sensodyne toothpaste and Panadol pain relief, while BAE Systems also exuded confidence about delivering stronger profit growth this year.

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Here’s the key business news from London this morning:

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In The City

Virgin Money UK Plc: The challenger bank said it expects a total share buyback of £175 million for its 2023 financial year, as rate increases bolstered surplus capital.

  • The lender, which earlier this month pledged to resume buybacks after passing the Bank of England’s latest stress tests, kept its net interest margin stable in the three months to June as customers deposits grew 0.4% to £67.3 billion

Haleon Plc: The consumer health giant raised its full-year sales outlook after delivering better than expected results in the first six months, driven by pricing and a positive volume mix.

  • The Advil maker now expects organic revenue growth of 7% to 8% in 2023, up from its previous 4% to 6% range
  • It also sees adjusted operating profit up 9% to 11% in constant currencies, citing the “resilience” of its portfolio of brands

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BAE Systems Plc: The weapons maker upgraded its full-year guidance after reporting a record order backlog and continued good operational performance across all sectors.

  • Besides lifting its sales growth forecast to 5% to 7% from 3% to 5%, the company also announced a further share buyback program of up to £1.5 billion, to be completed within three years

ConvaTec Plc: The medical firm  raised its organic revenue growth expectation to 6%-7.5% from 5%-6.5%, citing an “encouraging outlook”, particularly in the Advanced Wound Care segment.

In Westminster

Britain’s energy industry will sit down with Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps today to discuss energy security and accelerating investments into low and zero carbon projects.

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The meeting at Downing Street, with leaders from Shell Plc, BP Plc, SSE Plc, EDF and National Grid Plc, will focus on existing plans by the companies to invest more than £100 billion into the UK’s energy industry including spending on renewables, nuclear power, and North Sea oil and gas.

Meanwhile, here’s a closer look at how Drax Group Plc, one of the UK’s biggest energy producers, managed to avoid returning hundreds of millions to households during the cost-of-living crisis.

In Case You Missed It 

Cambridge-based chip designer Arm is targeting an initial public offering at a valuation of between $60 billion and $70 billion as soon as September, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The latest ballpark for the SoftBank Group Corp.-owned company underscores a shift in market mood in favour of technologies linked to generative AI and chips. In March, bankers were pitching a range of $30 billion to $70 billion, Bloomberg reported at the time.

Looking Ahead 

Next Plc, Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc and the London Stock Exchange Group Plc are among companies scheduled to update the market tomorrow morning. The Bank of England takes centre stage later on Thursday when its next rate decision is due.

For a more considered take on the UK’s economic and financial news, sign up to Money Distilled with John Stepek.

—With assistance from Leonard Kehnscherper.



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