Rolls-Royce shares have been buffeted like a plane in a tornado in recent months – and there are signs of more turbulence ahead.
The stock, which endured a dismal summer, leapt 96 per cent last week as investors took the plunge after the 136-year-old engineer unveiled a £5billion rescue plan. On Monday they rose another 3 per cent to 229.70p.
City chatter over a long-mooted merger with fellow defence supplier BAE Systems also resurfaced, boosting the stock.
In demand: Rolls Royce shares leapt 96 per cent last week
Rolls-Royce’s prospects have also been lifted by signs that Prime Minister Boris Johnson may be ready to push the nuclear button.
The company heads a nine-member consortium planning to build a string of Small Modular Reactor (SMR) power stations around the UK, and there is talk that Westminster may be ready to splash out up to £2billion to take an equity stake in the project. A decision could come as early as this month.
Tom Samson, interim boss of the SMR consortium, told me that a roll-out of the programme across sites in the North and north Wales played into the Government’s ‘levelling up’ and green agendas.
‘We hope that the Government is seeing that this is a UK solution to a UK challenge,’ he said.
Big stink as soap maker Unilever is set to move to London
Sales of deodorant and shampoo tumbled in lockdown as Britons dropped their standards. And Dove-maker Unilever is still kicking up a stink in the Netherlands.
The Anglo-Dutch company will be in focus on Monday as investors vote on making London its sole corporate HQ.
Unilever investors will vote on making London its sole corporate HQ on Monday
The plan received Dutch shareholders’ approval last month and British investors will likely give an overwhelming thumbs- up. The fly in the ointment is a bill threatened by Dutch MPs that could impose an €11billion (£10billion) ‘exit tax’ on Unilever.
Bart Snels, the GroenLinks opposition MP behind the plan, told me: ‘We trust that, while this law is still pending, knowing it would take effect retroactively, the Unilever board will consider leaving for the UK too big a risk.’
Aboriginal row blows up in BHP’s rock face
Mining giant BHP Billiton faces a showdown over protection of Aboriginal sites this week.
In the run-up to Thursday’s annual meeting, pressure groups have lobbied more than half of BHP’s shareholder register to back a resolution giving greater protection to heritage sites.
It is mining iron ore at its South Flank site in the Pilbara region in Western Australia, home to the Banjima people. BHP says it has ‘a deep respect for indigenous peoples and their cultures’, and already has protections in place.
Chief executive Mike Henry will tread carefully. Last month, the boss of Rio Tinto, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, had to resign after blowing up 46,000-year-old Aboriginal caves to reach iron ore at Juukan Gorge in Western Australia.