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FTSE 250 movers: Bakkavor up on stake sale; warning hits Crest Nicholson

(Sharecast News) - FTSE 250: 19,123.93, -0.38%

Bakkavor jumped as it has announced a board change after hedge fund Baupost sold its stake in the food manufacturing group to private equity firm LongRange Capital.

Baupost, which had held over 116m shares in Bakkavor equal to a 20.1% stake, last week offloaded the shareholding to LongRange.

As a result, non-executive director Patrick Cook, Baupost's nominated representative on the board since the hedge fund's investment in 2017, is to step down.

He will be replaced by LongRange representative Robert Berlin, who used to hold a position on the board between 2016 and 2018.

LongRange, which was founded in 2019, holds $1.7bn in assets under management and takes a "longer-term perspective to investing and building middle market businesses through a company-focussed and customer-first philosophy", Bakkavor said.

"Baupost has been a supportive shareholder in Bakkavor over many years and we wish them well. Patrick Cook was a very positive addition to our board, giving us insight, good challenge and constructive debate. I would like to thank him for this on behalf of us all and wish him every success in the future," said Bakkavor chair Simon Burke.

"In the meantime, I am delighted to welcome back Bob Berlin. He knows us and our markets very well, and I look forward to the board having the benefit of his knowledge and energy once again."

Home construction company Crest Nicholson has delivered a profit warning as a result of higher-than-expected costs as it announced an additional one-off charge from a legal claim.

The group said that adjusted pre-tax profit for 2023 is now expected to be £41m, lower than the £45-50m range given in November. That would mark a 70% reduction from £137.8m in 2022.

The company's zero-margin scheme, Brightwells Yard in Farnham, was expected to record £11m of costs in the second half as work continued on completing certain legacy sites. However, "further additional costs have been identified" following a review, it said.

In addition, Crest Nicholson said it now expects to take a £13m one-off, non-cash hit due to a recently received legal claim relating to a low-rise apartment scheme which was damaged by fire in 2021.

"The group is addressing this claim diligently and efficiently and will provide further details in our preliminary results," the company said ahead of its annual report on 23 January.

Positively, Crest Nicholson said it is seeing a "more constructive backdrop for house buyers and the wider housing market" in 2024 as a result of the recent reduction in mortgage rates.

"Although it is too early to gauge customer behaviour, we have been encouraged by an increase in customer interest levels and inquiries this calendar year."

Pennon Group fell on a report that its South West Water unit was accused of not being honest with the government about its drought preparations after parts of the country almost ran out of water in 2022, it has emerged.

The Environment Agency (EA) told the water industry regulator Ofwat that SWW was "not honest" with regulators about the risk a drought posed to the company's water supplies and was inadequately prepared for the heatwave, the Guardian reported.

Market Movers

FTSE 250 - Risers

Bakkavor Group (BAKK) 89.20p 4.94% Wood Group (John) (WG.) 162.50p 3.57% North Atlantic Smaller Companies Inv Trust (NAS) 3,900.00p 2.63% Drax Group (DRX) 533.40p 2.22% Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 608.00p 1.93% Schroder Oriental Income Fund Ltd. (SOI) 246.00p 1.86% PPHE Hotel Group Ltd (PPH) 1,175.00p 1.73% Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 1,840.00p 1.38% Caledonia Investments (CLDN) 3,520.00p 1.29% Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 168.70p 1.29%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Diversified Energy Company (DEC) 985.20p -10.84% Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 209.20p -3.42% Pets at Home Group (PETS) 297.60p -3.31% Pennon Group (PNN) 722.00p -3.02% IP Group (IPO) 53.00p -2.75% Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,500.00p -2.60% Coats Group (COA) 68.60p -2.56% Kainos Group (KNOS) 995.00p -2.45% Close Brothers Group (CBG) 642.50p -2.43% Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 198.60p -2.36%

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