FTSE 100 movers: Ocado surges on patent row settlement; WPP slips

by | Jul 24, 2023

(Sharecast News) – UK online supermarket Ocado has won a £200m settlement from Norwegian company AutoStore after a three-year legal battle over ‘robot’ patents.
Both AutoStore and Ocado license their warehouse technology to retailers globally which had led to legal battles over intellectual property rights.

In 2020, AutoStore tried to protect six patents that it said Ocado had breached. In a joint statement released on Saturday, the companies said they were withdrawing their actions against each other and have reached a deal in which both sides have freedom to access and use technology covered by each other’s pre-2020 patents.

Telecoms giant Vodafone said first-quarter group service revenue rose 3.7%, helped by its UK operations.

The company on Monday said revenue for the period came in at €10.7bn from €9.5bn a year earlier. Britain increased by 6.5%, while Germany, Spain and Italy narrowed falls.

It also reiterated full-year guidance of adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation after leases of around €13.3bn and adjusted free cash flow of €3.3bn.

The company added that it had appointed former SAP chief financial officer Luka Mucic to the same role at Vodafone, starting on September 1.

“The transformation at Vodafone is in its infancy, and there’s a long way to go – but tentative signs of green shoots are emerging. Europe squeezed out overall growth in service revenue, as declines eased in Germany and Italy,” said Matt Britzman, Hargreaves Lansdown equity analyst.

“Germany remains a key battleground and focal point of the transformation, after more than €20bn of investment it’s vital that trends continue to improve from here and the region returns to growth sooner rather than later. Price hikes are to thank for the relative improvement over the quarter in Germany.”

“That’s great for boosting short-term performance but there are more fundamental challenges that need to be dealt with – IT systems have been slow to adapt to new regulations and poor network performance means customer satisfaction levels have been under pressure in recent times.”

Service revenue decline in Germany more than halved quarter-on-quarter to 1.3%, as price rises partially offset the impact of customer losses. In Italy, improved demand from businesses helped reduce the service revenue decline to 1.6% from 2.7% in the previous quarter, while Spain improved to a fall of 3.0% from 3.7%.

WPP fell as former CEO Martin Sorrell’s new outfit, S4 capital, cut its full-year guidance to reflect caution on the part of its technology clients, with the digital advertising and marketing firm attributing the softness to the challenging macroeconomic conditions and cautious spending.

Airlines were out of favour after low-cost carrier Ryanair sounded a cautious note about winter demand despite posting better-than-expected first-quarter profits. British Airways owner IAG fell on the sentiment.

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,661.93 -0.02%

FTSE 100 – Risers

Ocado Group (OCDO) 768.20p 11.82%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 76.38p 3.90%
BT Group (BT.A) 126.00p 2.31%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,191.50p 1.92%
St James’s Place (STJ) 1,180.00p 1.55%
BP (BP.) 482.70p 1.45%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 4,235.00p 1.17%
Glencore (GLEN) 477.30p 1.01%
SSE (SSE) 1,815.50p 1.00%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 234.00p 0.99%

FTSE 100 – Fallers

Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,176.00p -3.03%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 151.75p -2.57%
WPP (WPP) 809.20p -2.27%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,008.00p -1.81%
Sage Group (SGE) 921.80p -1.71%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 911.80p -1.64%
Beazley (BEZ) 566.50p -1.56%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 210.80p -1.50%
Relx plc (REL) 2,576.00p -1.23%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 10,915.00p -1.18%

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