Net premiums at life assurer Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Gr (LON:RSA) grew by 5% to 1.93bn in the first three months of this year, with the group enjoying strong growth in the UK, Canada and Latin America. Elsewhere, it pulled off acquisitions in Sweden, Denmark and Oman during the period and signed a deal in the UK with Tesco to provide Pet insurance, which is expected to deliver around £100m of premiums in its first full year. The group predicted that its International business would deliver mid-single digit growth during 2010, with the UK remaining in positive territory and Emerging Markets returning to double digit growth over the longer term. RSA’s shares were up 1.1% to 118.3p in early trading.
Engineering and manufacturing group Tomkins (LON:TOMK) reported better than expected demand across its industrial and automotive businesses during the four months to May 5, although weaknesses still remain in the North American construction markets. The news was enough to send the company’s shares 2.7% higher to 234.8p. It said that higher volumes and restructuring initiatives were set to deliver a double-digit margin in the first quarter of 2010. During the period, Tomkins snapped up Koch Filter as a bolt-on to its Air Distribution business and recently acquired TransHose as a small bolt-on to the Fluid Power division. Looking ahead, it noted that the first half of 2010 was expected to remain strong, but continued momentum in the second half was uncertain.
Intertek Group (LON:ITRK) , the group that provides quality and safety services to clients in a wide range of industries, has got its hands on Norca Ingenieria de Calidad S.L, a company that provides infrastructure risk assessment services for the energy industry in Spain. The £3.7m acquisition is being seen as a strategic and complementary addition Intertek’s growing portfolio of inspection and consulting services in its Industrial Services division. CEO, Wolfhart Hauser, said the purchase would give Intertek expertise and services that it could extend to clients across Europe. The group’s shares were trading down 0.6% at 1457p.
Consumer packaging company Rexam (LON:REX) has posted first quarter results ahead of expectations, with improved volumes in Beverage Cans, and Plastic Packaging performing in line with its plans. The company’s cost reduction initiatives remain on track to deliver £43m of combined savings across the two divisions in 2010. Rexam pointed out that while first quarter trading for the Beverage Can division was encouraging, the operation relies heavily on the traditionally busy summer season, which will influence its full year performance. Elsewhere, a partial recovery in the Plastic Packaging business is being hampered by weak closures, it said. Separately, the group has refinanced its committed bank facilities for five years to 2015 at better rates than its existing facilities. Its shares were up by 1.6% to 317.9p.
Morrison (WM) Supermarkets (LON:MRW) this morning reported that it had continued to grow share in the first quarter, although the new financial year had seen an anticipated slowdown in the market. It noted that commodity prices had continued to ease, resulting in the virtual elimination of food inflation and lower market growth. The company said it was benefitting from keen pricing, supported by eye-catching and innovative promotional offers. In the 13 weeks to May 2, total sales excluding fuel were up by 5.9% (9.5% including fuel). Like for like sales grew by 0.8% (5.2% including fuel). The company’s shares were trading down 2.1% at 272.8p.
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