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FTSE 100 pushes higher on Smurfit Kappa takeover approach

The FTSE 100 Index closed up 30.77 points to 7,146.75.


The FTSE 100 Index closed up 30.77 points to 7,146.75 (PA)

The FTSE 100 Index closed up 30.77 points to 7,146.75 (PA)

The FTSE 100 Index closed up 30.77 points to 7,146.75 (PA)

A takeover swoop for packaging giant Smurfit Kappa sent shares soaring on Tuesday, helping London’s premier index climb for the second straight session.

The FTSE 100 Index closed up 30.77 points to 7,146.75, with Smurfit emerging as the biggest riser on the top tier after it snubbed an “unsolicited and highly opportunistic” offer from the International Paper Company.

Smurfit chairman Liam O’Mahony said the move did not “reflect the group’s true intrinsic business worth or its prospects”.

Shares in Smurfit were up more than 19%, or 500p to 3,042p.

The brighter performance for the FTSE 100 comes after £27 billion was wiped off blue-chip stocks on Friday when US plans to hike tariffs on steel and aluminium prompted fears of a global trade war.

Across Europe, Germany’s Dax was up 0.2% and the Cac 40 in France edged 0.1% higher.

On the currency markets, sterling rose 0.2% versus the US dollar at 1.388, with the greenback suffering from the market’s move towards more riskier assets following the announcement that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would hold a landmark summit with South Korea’s president.

Pyongyang also made it clear it would not need to keep its nuclear weapons if military threats against it were removed and it received a credible security guarantee.

Against the euro, the pound was down 0.3% to 1.119 euro.

The price of oil edged lower, drifting 0.1% to 65.51 dollars a barrel, as traders responded to efforts from the Opec cartel and Russia to keep enforcing output cuts despite America’s booming shale industry.

In UK stocks, investors chewed up Just Eat’s share price after the online takeaway delivery firm swung to a loss following a hit on its Australian and New Zealand business.

The group – recently promoted to the FTSE 100 Index – slumped to a £76 million pre-tax loss last year against profits of £91.3 million in 2016 after taking a £180.4 million charge on the acquisition of its Australian and New Zealand arm.

Just Eat closed down 13% – 107p to 744.8p – but said it would have made a profit of £104.4 million with the hit stripped out.

Shares in takeover target GKN took a turn for the worst as pressure mounts on the Government to kill off the proposed £7.4 billion bid by Melrose.

Parliament’s Business Committee grilled bosses from both companies on Tuesday amid heightening tensions over the mooted deal.

During the hearing Steve Turner, from union Unite, added his voice to calls from 16 MPs who earlier sent a letter to Business Secretary Greg Clark urging him to block the takeover.

He said: “Melrose’s track record is exactly that three to five-year ‘transformation’, they would call it, asset stripping we’d more rightly define
it as.

“They take over businesses, they break businesses up, they compartmentalise them and then flog them off to the highest bidder in order to maximise shareholder value. That’s the nature of the business.”

Shares in GKN were down more than 1%, or 4.8p to 421.1p.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index were Smurtfit Kappa up 500p to 3,042p, Smith (DS) up 27p to 505.8p, Intertek up 224p to 5,092p, Anglo American up 67p to 1,760.2p.

The biggest fallers were Just Eat down 107p to 744.8p, Ashtead Group down 111.5p to 1,917.5p, Sainsbury down 8.2p to 244.7p, easyJet down 45p to 1,552.5p.