Rocky debuts for Princess and Lattice

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The Independent Online

The newly quoted companies created by the twin demergers by the ferries giant P&O and BG Group yesterday met a stony reception on the stock market.

The newly quoted companies created by the twin demergers by the ferries giant P&O and BG Group yesterday met a stony reception on the stock market.

P&O Princess Cruises, the cruises division that has been split off from P&O's remaining ports and ferries business, sank 18p to 292p from its opening price. This valued the new company at £1.99bn.

The business, which traded as high as 343p at one point during the day, fell after investors questioned whether P&O Princess would be able to compete successfully with other giant cruise operators. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter downgraded its price target on the stock to 270p, following a 15 per cent fall in the value of comparable cruise lines in the US last week.

Separately, the ferries group announced that Joanne Curin had been appointed as finance director, with Nicholas Luff, who is currently in that post, assuming the same role at P&O Princess. The rump P&O ended up 11.5p at 242.5p

Lattice, the gas pipelines to telecoms company demerged from BG, fared slightly better, with its shares ending the day where they started, at 147.5p.

Lattice also saw its stock downgraded, with Credit Suisse First Boston valuing it at 129p a share. The company will be headed by Transco's Phillip Nolan. BG shares meanwhile, gained 7 per cent to end at 270p.

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