The week ahead (28/05-31/05)

The week ahead (28/05-31/05)

In this shortened trading week, we could learn more on soft drinks producer Britvic's merger with AG Barr, while retail group Kingfisher reports.

Tuesday 28 May

Chances are we may learn something more about the mooted merger between soft drinks company Britvic and Irn-Bru maker AG Barr on Tuesday.

Recent news: Britvic, whose brands include Robinsons, Tango and Fruit Shoot, agreed to a reverse takeover by Cumbernauld-based AG Barr in November and the installation of its boss Roger White as chief executive, but the deal went quiet after the Competition Commission launched an inquiry. Britvic has since announced a cost-cutting programme.

Analysts' expectations: Analysts say the deal makes strategic sense. Cannacord Genuity analyst Wayne Brown wrote in a note to clients: 'We remain of the view the proposed merger with AG Barr makes commercial and strategic sense.' He believes plans to trim 15 per cent of Britvic's workforce are being overseen by a management team that lacks a 'track record on delivering on large projects'.

A merger with much smaller rival AG Barr would 'bring with it a management team with a proven track record of delivering on large projects,' he said.

Trading statements

Barr AG, Victrex, Medicx Fund, Renold, Volex Group, Seadrill Partners LLC.

Wednesday 29 May

On Wednesday, we should learn more about the progress of Silence Therapeutics plc, one of those biotechs that can blind you with science - in its case, 'RNA interference' therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases, primarily cancer.

Recent news: In April, it placed 9.5 million new ordinary shares at 200p each for a three-pronged approach to broaden its skills from its pre-clinical research to include clinical and commercial expertise, to fund a research programme into pancreatic cancer, and to target non-cancer indications for its Atu027 product.

The company also intends to consolidate the existing ordinary shares on the basis of one consolidated share for every 50 existing shares held, and ultimately move to AIM.

Trading statements

Silence Therapeutics, Ocado, Henderson European Focus Trust, Coalfield Resources, Severfield Rowen, Majedie Investments, The European Investment Trust, Gulf Keystone Petroleum, Value & Income, Topps Tiles, TR Property IT, Haynes Publishing, Hargreaves Services, Brewin Dolphin Holdings, De La Rue.

Thursday 30 May

Retail group Kingfisher reports its results on Thursday.

Recent news: The company has rebuilt its financial health in recent years and is now Europe's largest home improvement retailer with annual sales of over £10bn in over 1,000 stores in eight countries, and huge brands such as B&Q, Castorama, Brico Depot and Screwfix. It is now market leader in the UK, France and Poland, a major policy focus, after learning the hard way a decade ago to stick to its knitting.

Analysts' expectations: Sunita Entwisle at Nomura Shares predicts the shares will fall back this year after their strong run as the momentum must end somewhere.

Trading statements

Kingfisher Group, Tate & Lyle, Rockhopper Exploration, Treveria, Henderson Value Trust, Henderson Private equity Trust, Henderson Eurotrust, F&C Private Equity trust, F&C Asset Management, Phoenix IT, Electra Private Equity, Standard Life European Private Equity trust, Severn Trent, The Biotech Growth Trust, Starwood European Real Estate Finance Ltd, Torotrak, Aurora IT, Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust, Electra Private Equity plc, Caledonia.

Friday 31 May

Trading statements

Edinburgh Investment Trust, Triad Group, New India Investment Trust, Blackrock Frontiers Investment Trust, Harvey Nash Group, Avanti Communications Group, Bumi plc, Aberdeen Asian Smaller Companies.

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