Bovis float brought forward as P&O profits cruise 33% higher

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL, the cruises, ferries and ports group, is bringing forward the pounds 350m flotation of its Bovis construction arm to next month after reporting buoyant first-half profits.

The group also disclosed that its cruise and ferries divisions, which made profits of pounds 128m in the six months to 30 June, will be virtually exempt from paying tax when the Government's new "tonnage tax" takes effect next year.

P&O will pay just pounds 20,000 a year tax on the Grand Princess, the biggest cruise ship in the world, and a similar amount on the Oriana, the flagship of its UK-based cruise business.

The Bovis flotation had been scheduled to take place in the first half of next year. Lord Sterling, the P&O chairman, said the decision to accelerate the process had nothing to do with worries about the state of the equity markets next year.

P&O will publish a pathfinder prospectus later this month and list Bovis in October. It is selling 100 per cent of the company with the offer aimed predominantly at UK institutional investors. Bovis made operating profits of pounds 24m last year and pounds 12.3m in the first half of this year - 28 per cent up on the same period in 1998.

The improvement at Bovis helped P&O to achieve a 33 per cent increase in group profits to pounds 183m. The cruise business made pounds 109m and Lord Sterling said there were plans for a major expansion of the business into continental Europe, where P&O believes there is huge potential because of the six- week holidays people get.

The proceeds from the Bovis flotation will be used to help fund P&O's huge investment programme in nine new cruise ships that will cost pounds 2.3bn and double the number of berths in the P&O fleet.

In total P&O expects to raise around pounds 2bn from the disposal of its construction, property and container shipping businesses.

The proceeds were swollen by A$289m yesterday after P&O confirmed the sale of its Australian cleaning and catering interests, and the group is shortly to announce the disposal of its Earls Court and Olympia exhibition halls in London.

Speculation as to the identity of the buyer centres on Daily Mail and General Trust, which has its own large exhibition business.

Lord Sterling also disclosed that there would be further job cuts at its loss-making joint venture cargo shipping business, P&O Nedlloyd, as part of a $100m cost reduction plan. The division employs 8,000 but P&O would not say how many redundancies were planned.

He also confirmed that P&O had talked to the giant US cruise operator, Carnival, but categorically denied that its chairman, Mickey Arnison, had tabled an offer, either for P&O as a whole or its US-based Princess cruise division.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...

Helpdesk Analyst

£23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...

Senior Helpdesk Analyst / Service Desk Co-ordinator

£27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London