Market Report: Laird lays to rest concerns over global smartphone market


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The Independent Online

Apple and Samsung supplier Laird laid to rest concerns over the global smartphone market with strong first-half results.

The company, up 50.3p to 400.1p, revealed a 21 per cent rise in revenues to £305.9m, while underlying pre-tax profits grew 36 per cent to £26.9m.

Laird’s profits are usually larger in the second-half of the year but it said it has managed to even that out.

Investors have been worried about slowing growth in smartphones, especially from China, and how that will affect suppliers such as Laird.

Nick James at Numis Securities said sales are becoming more diverse, leaving Laird “less exposed to volatility from any particular customer”.

The FTSE 100 rose 37.87 points to 6,668.87 on another busy day of financial results, with oil giant and index heavyweight Shell the top riser, up 84p to 1,861p after unveiling 6,500 job cuts.

AstraZeneca’s half-year results gave the drug-maker’s shares a shot in the arm, up 128.5p to 4,319.5p, as it upped its full-year revenue guidance slightly.

Chime Communications leapt 70.75p to 345.25p as the PR and marketing group revealed it is in talks with WPP and American private equity firm Providence over a £350m takeover.

Investors shrugged off Inchcape’s struggles in cash-strapped Greece as the car dealership impressed the City with “strong” first-half results, sending the shares up 49.5p to 802p.

Revenues rose a touch to £3.4bn and pre-tax profits, while down 5.6 per cent, came in better than expected at £153m.

The company, which is the distributor of Toyota and Lexus cars in Greece, warned the Mediterranean country’s recent plight will take its toll in the second half of 2015.

Merlin Entertainments, which dipped 3.6p to 414p, said its first-half was overshadowed by the rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers, but the theme park operator still saw sales rise 6.6 per cent to £544m.

AIM-listed Accesso Technology soared 137.5p to 672.5p after unveiling a seven-year deal with Merlin to run its online ticketing system – a deal which led the company to say it expects “2016 to be ahead of current expectations”.