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NMC Health confirms approaches from KKR, Workspace appoints Whitbread's Benson as CFO

By Josh White

Date: Monday 10 Feb 2020

(Sharecast News) - London open

The FTSE 100 is expected to open nine points lower on Monday, having closed down 0.51% at 7,466.70 on Friday.
Stocks to watch

NMC Health on Monday confirmed it had received "highly preliminary" approaches from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and GK Investment Holding Group regarding possible offers for the company. The Middle East hospital operator also said its founder and chairman BR Shetty is conducting a legal review into potential historical inaccuracies relating to his own stake in the firm and those of three other shareholders.

Workspace announced the appointment of David Benson as its new chief financial officer with effect from 1 April. Benson is currently corporate finance director of Premier Inn owner Whitbread.

Newspaper round-up

Waitrose is to launch thousands of new and revamped products in the coming months as the battle for the hearts and minds of Ocado shoppers moves up a gear. The supermarket's deal with the online grocer will finish at the end of August, when it will be replaced by Marks & Spencer. The switchover is high risk for all the brands involved: Ocado risks losing loyal Waitrose shoppers while the supermarket, which is part of the John Lewis Partnership, will have to persuade shoppers to use its own website instead. - Guardian

The number of firms collapsing into administration across England and Wales rose by nearly 5% to more than 1,400 last year, according to the accountancy firm KPMG. Brexit uncertainty and economic turmoil created a particularly tough year for the building and construction industry, while the real estate and property sector also suffered, it found. The demise and ongoing restructuring of a large number of high street retailers has had a "profound" impact on commercial property income and values. - Guardian

Plans for a mansion tax are "half-baked" and reform of tax relief could lead to "huge losses" for savers, experts have said of proposed Budget changes revealed by The Telegraph. Sajid Javid, the Chancellor, is reportedly weighing up limiting tax relief on pension contributions to 20pc and introducing a "recurring" wealth tax on the owners of expensive homes. - Telegraph

A full ban on Huawei supplying the 5G network in Britain could cost the country's leading mobile phone operators an estimated ?1.5 billion and delay the expansion of the faster and more versatile network by up to two years. BT, Vodafone and Three would face substantial "tear-out" costs of removing Huawei's equipment from its networks, according to Enders Analysis, the research company. - The Times

Britain's biggest institutional investors are warming to the idea that companies should be set targets to increase employee share ownership, financing a study arguing the case for quotas and "name and shame" style league tables. The Social Market Foundation think tank urged the government to set a target for large listed companies. This could either be a percentage of share capital owned by staff or a percentage of the workforce owning shares. - The Times

US close

US stocks closed lower on Friday despite a stronger-than-expected reading on the US jobs market for January as companies around the world warned that the Wuhan coronavirus would impact their top and bottom lines.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.94% at 29,102.51, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 0.54% weaker at 3,327.71 and 9,520.51, respectively.

The Dow closed 277.26 lower on Friday after China's National Health Commission reported overnight that the number of cases of the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus had climbed past 31,000 and fatalities to more than 630.

Just before the opening bell on Wall Street, high-end parka maker Canada Goose joined the likes of Burberry, Toyota Motor and key Apple supplier, Hon Hai Precision in cautioning investors that the virus would most certainly take its toll on profits.

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