The Week Ahead: Forget the numbers, the City's only thirsty for the Allied bid

Drinks group Allied Domecq unveils interim results this week. Had it happened last month, it would have been a simple affair: the US performing well, Europe less so and pre-tax profits potentially as high as £290m against last year's £266m.

But, as one broker notes, there is "a feeling of irrelevance" about these numbers. Because most expect French giant Pernod Ricard and US partner Fortune Brands to have made an offer worth more than £7bn for Allied Domecq before anyone gets a chance to start discussing earnings per share.

There had been hopes a bid would come sooner - due diligence was carried out last week - and there was also confusion about whether another suitor might come forward. Constellation Brands, for example, the American owner of Mondavi wines, said it was considering an approach but distanced itself from both the remarks and intention as the week drew to a close. However, sources say Pernod Ricard's aim is still to get an offer on the table by Thursday's results.

There are various questions that will be answered by a formal bid, such as the structure of the deal, the value (most are speculating around 670p a share) and how Pernod Ricard and Fortune will divvy up the goods. But a bid will also bring more questions, not least of which is whether the Allied Domecq board will believe it represents fair value. Do not expect the affair to come to a close any time soon.

Another sometime takeover subject is WH Smith, and it also has interim numbers out on Thursday. The similarities with Allied Domecq end there, however, with its former suitor, Permira, long since gone. Some are cautiously optimistic that the results will confirm that chief executive Kate Swann's recovery is gaining ground.

Christmas sales were poor, and the tough conditions on the high street are challenging the whole sector. But Ms Swann has already revealed both an improvement in profitability, as promotions were axed, and a strong Valentine's Day. The group also dispensed with its finance director recently in favour of Alan Stewart, who has a reputation for helping turn businesses around.

Other retail results come from Game Group, the computer games specialist. The company, though, is in potential takeover talks, so again, this is likely to be the focus for most analysts.

Associated British Foods is also reporting, and the City is hoping for good news from the owner of discount retailer Primark and household brands such as Twinings, Ryvita and Silver Spoon. In particular, Primark - which recently snapped up six Allders stores - should show solid growth and help boost pre-tax tax interim profits from £232m to around £265m.

In other sectors, news and information group Reuters is one of the biggest names addressing investors. First-quarter sales are due on Wednesday, with the annual general meeting the following day. Most are predicting that underlying sales will be down around 1.5 per cent, but overall the City is becoming more bullish towards Reuters. Analysts point to the strong start to the year already reported, and price increases. Also on the cards is the sale of its 63 per cent-owned sharetrading subsidiary, Instinet, to Nasdaq.

Overseas, and in the US, first-quarter results are coming thick and fast. Investors will be getting news from Ford, eBay, Motorola, Google, Eastman Kodak, Yahoo! and the controversial services giant Halliburton, to name but a few.

Gaming giants MGM Mirage and Harrah's Entertainment are also reporting. They have viewed the UK market with increasing excitement over the past year as plans to deregulate gather pace - but that is likely to have been severely dampened by the Government's recent decision to limit the number of mega-casinos to just one. Any views on this are bound to be interesting.

Also in the States, sources on Capitol Hill expect progress on the deal to resolve the asbestos crisis, which has hit scores of companies around the world. The draft of a 300-page bill, sponsored by Republican Senator Arlen Specter, to create a $140m (£74m) asbestosis compensation fund has been circulating. It has received support from Democrats but a few conservative Republicans are objecting. The other people not happy are reinsurance companies, notably Equitas in the UK, which feel the bill puts too much of the brunt on them.

In mainland Europe, meanwhile, stocks reporting include mobile phone giants Nokia and Ericsson, and Dutch electronics group Philips.

And rounding off a busy week is a slew of economic news as G7, IMF and World Bank meetings all draw to a close. On a local level, there are minutes from the Bank of England detailing its last decision on interest rates (likely to show a seven-two vote for a hold), the Rics house price survey and retail sales for March.


Tomorrow 18

UK: Results: (final) Peter Hambro Mining, Star Energy.

Tuesday 19

UK: Results: (F) Cairn Energy, Canterbury Foods, Game Group, Parity Group; (interim) Associated British Foods, Bellway, Carr's Milling Industries, Incat International, Mouchel Parkman; (first quarter) ARM Holdings.

Wednesday 20

UK: Results: (F) Clinton Cards, Oakdene Homes, RC Holdings; (I) Carter & Carter, McCarthy & Stone; (Q1) Autonomy Corp.

Thursday 21

UK: Results: (F) Imperial Energy Corp; (I) Allied Domecq, WH Smith.

Friday 22

UK: Results: (F) Surgical Innovations; (Q1) WPP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Carlton Senior Appointments: Private Banking Manager - Intl Bank - Los Angeles

$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer – Office...

Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advisor – Ind Advisory Firm

$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas