City morning headlines: BG’s $8.9bn impairment charge, Australia’s rate cut and Ocado’s first profit

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It said it is cutting expenditure to between $6-7 billion, after reporting a fourth-quarter operating loss of $7.9 billion.

It also took a non-cash impairment charge of $8.9 billion.

Interim Executive Chairman Andrew Gould said: “The sharp deterioration in commodity prices in the second half of the year has led us to recognise significant asset impairment charges in the fourth quarter.”

He insisted the firm would be able to manage the downturn, saying that it had reached the end of a high capital expenditure cycle and will add further production in 2015.

“We will proactively manage our costs, both capital and operating, to adapt to the new business circumstances,” he added.

BG said new boss, former Statoil chief Helge Lund, will start “shortly”.

Oil price collapse hits green fuel

Primark-owner Associated British Foods has written of £98 million on its investment in bioethanol plant operator Vivergo Fuels.

ABF blamed falling crude oil and bioethanol prices and the further weakening of the euro currency against sterling.

Australia cuts rates

Australia has cut interest rates by 0.25% to record low of 2.25%.

The move is designed to weaken an overvalued Australian dollar, it plunges to a five -and-a-half year low and as stocks soar.

Chesterton calls off sale

One of the UK’s oldest estate agents, upmarket operator Chestertons, has abandoned plans for a £50 million sale, the Evening Standard has learned.

Construction data

Did builders pick up the pace in January after pre-Christmas slump in official figures?

The Cips construction survey should offer clues at 09:30am.

Companies news highlights

Santander UK’s parent bank Banco Santander posts a 68% rise in fourth-quarter net profit, as Spain’s woes recede and Ana Botin takes firm control. She recently orchestrated a boardroom clear out and launched a €7.5 billion rights issue.

China’s Lenovo profits beat forecasts after smartphone sales doubled in the final quarter.

TalkTalk revenues were up 4.2% at the nine month stage – are we seeing the benefits of quadplay?

St Modwen Property profits have surged 68% to a record £138m.

Capita pays €210 million for European customer management company Avocis.

Melrose says it will return £200 million to shareholders taking total returned to £2.5 billion.

Ocado makes its maiden profit – after 15 years in business – of £10 million and says it “continues to lead the grocery revolution”.

Aberdeen Asset Management reports net outflows of £1.5 million in last three months, but claims things have improved since January.

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February 3, 2015 |
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