WH SMITH ON TRACK
WH Smith has confirmed that trading figures for the full year will be in line with expectations as the retailer again pointed to a strong performance at airports and railway stations. The stationer and newsagent has continuously said that under-pressure high street sales are being offset by its growing chain of travel shops, and on Wednesday added that it has opened its first three stores in Italy in Rome's Fiumicino and Ciampino airports, and one in Turin airport. The firm added that it sees "further opportunities" in retail travel market.
PETROFAC CUTS DIVIDEND
Scandal-hit Petrofac has slashed its dividend, despite reporting an increase in first half profits. The group cut its dividend by 42% to 12.7 cents per share as it pointed to a "weaker outlook" for commodity prices. Nevertheless, the oil services firm reported a rise in pre-tax profit from £58 million to £109 million. Petrofac has been dogged by controversy recently and is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office under suspicion of bribery, corruption and money laundering in relation to oil contractor Unaoil. To compound matters, Italian authorities last week ordered property seizures and slapped chief executive Ayman Asfari with a 300,000 euro (£276,000) fine after accusing the oil services firm boss of insider trading. Mr Asfari has denied the claims.