City morning headlines: UBS and Ryanair soar, but Merlin suffers after crash

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Here’s a look at these stories and what else is making headlines today:

These stories are breaking and may develop throughout the day. Keep checking the Standard’s business pages for the latest.

UBS beats expectations

UBS’ second quarter net profit has beaten forecasts by a mile, rising 53% to Sfr1.2 billion (£805.6 million), thanks in part to much stronger equities business within its investment bank.

The results had to be released a day earlier than planned after reports about its performance appeared in the media on Sunday.

Ryanair soars

Ryanair said that its full year profits will be at top end of its previously guided range of €940 million to €970 million.

The statement came as it reported that its first quarter earnings rose 25% to €245 million helped by strong summer bookings.

“We caution however that this guidance, which is 12% ahead of last year’s profit, is heavily reliant on the final outturn of H2 fares over which we currently have almost zero visibility,” the company added.

More China gloom

After disappointment from its manufacturing sector last week, data relating to the industrial profits could not lift the mood.

Profits, which rose on an annual basis in April and May, dropped 0.3% in June.

Merlin hurt by horror crash

Merlin Entertainments told shareholders today that a crash at its Alton Towers theme park and subsequent closure of the site has “had an adverse impact on trading at the start of the critical summer period”.

It said that its theme park earnings will likely drop from £87 million to £40-50 million and that there may be knock-on effects in 2016.

The damage will be partially offset by lower than expected financing costs, cost savings and the performance of its other businesses, meaning 2015 underlying profit before tax is forecast to be broadly in line with the prior year’s £249 million, Merlin said.

Companies news highlights:

Reckitt Benckiser lifts its full year forecasts on the back of a strong first half, with like-for-like growth up 5%, driven by Scholl and Durex.

Pearson confirms it is in talks to sell its 50% stake in the Economist Group.

AstraZeneca agrees the $300m sale of rare diseases drug Caprelsa.

Brazil clears Shell’s £47 billion bid for BG Group.

EE creeps back into growth with operating revenue up 0.1% in the second quarter. says it has received a bid from GVC of 122.5p per share with 25p in cash and the remainder in new GVC shares.

Insurer Hiscox delivers record profit of £59.3 million.

Piggery firm Cranswick posts an 8% rise in revenue.

Fevertree profits surge 60% to £12 million on revenues of £20 million, producing a 50% margin. Popularity of the Moscow Mule in the US also drives demand for ginger beer.

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July 27, 2015 |
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