STOCKS TO WATCH: Serco's shares take walloping


STOCKS TO WATCH: Serco’s shares take walloping as Ministry of Defence takes back direct control of country’s nuclear weapons early

Serco’s shares took a walloping last year after the Ministry of Defence took back direct control of the country’s nuclear weapons early. 

The outsourcer, along with majority shareholder Lockheed Martin and Jacobs Engineering, was stripped of the mandate to run the Atomic Weapons Establishment, which maintains the warheads for the Trident submarine-based nuclear deterrent, after years of delays and safety concerns. 

The trio are due to hand over the operation on July 1, but senior sources say the switch has been far from simple. 

Writing on the wall: The outsourcer was stripped of the mandate to run the Atomic Weapons Establishment

Writing on the wall: The outsourcer was stripped of the mandate to run the Atomic Weapons Establishment

One commented: ‘In reality, seven months was too short a notice period and it will take a couple of years to do a proper job. 

‘Even shifting the dial towards public sector procurement regulations in an operation that size is an enormous challenge.’ 

All three partners could still receive revenues with staff retained for years, sources claim.

AWE said a ‘small number’ of staff will be ‘seconded to support a stable transition’.

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Annual results from troubled property titan Land Securities should throw up some fascinating nuggets. 

The landlord’s share price is down nearly 30 per cent since the pandemic struck, and investors will be keen to assess the outlook for its retail and office assets. 

The firm’s vacancy rate was 2.4 per cent last year. That’s considerably better than the 5.9 per cent it hit after the 2008-9 financial crisis. 

But with physical stores falling out of favour and office occupants paring back space, the direction of travel for this figure will be crucial. 

Analysts will also be keen to see if the firm reckons next month’s lifting of the ban on evicting commercial tenants will see occupants cough up more rent or leave premises.

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Ryanair’s annual results tomorrow will put the prospects for battered airline stocks back in focus. 

Analysts reckon Covid still has the sector on the ropes, but that the London-listed carrier is better placed than others to bounce back due to its focus on short-haul. 

The shares changed hands for €16.64 last week, but Davy Research has a target price of €18 on the stock. Bullish.

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The ink on Asda chief Roger Burnley’s resignation letter is barely dry but chatter about his replacement is in full flow. 

First with talk of M&S food boss Stuart Machin and Morrisons’ second-in-command Trevor Strain – as reported here a couple of months ago. 

Now we hear the names of Tesco’s Andrew Yaxley, who runs its giant wholesale division Booker, and UK boss Jason Tarry have been thrown in the hat. 

Any of those would be a big win for Asda’s new owners, billionaire brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa. 

But working for two relative unknowns will mean a generous incentive package is required. 



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